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Bethesda,  Maryland 

















No.  63  Vesey-street; 


Southern  District  of  JfeW'York,  as. 

Be  it  remembered,  That  on  the  second  day  ot  Octo- 
ber, A.  D.  1824,  in  the  forty-ninth  year  of  the  Independence 
L.  S.    of  the  United  States  of  America,  James  Hardie,  of  the 
said  District,  hath  deposited  in  this  office  the  title  of  a 
Book,  the  right  whereof  he  claims  as  Author  and  Proprietor,  in 
the  words  following,  to  wit : 

The  history  of  the  Tread-Mill,  containing  an  account  of  its  origin, 
construction,  operation,  effects  as  it  respects  the  health  and  morals 
of  the  convicts,  with  their  treatment  and  diet ;  also  a  general  view  ot 
the  Penitentiary  System,  with  alterations  necessary  to  he  introduced 
into  our  criminal  code,  for  its  improvement,  by  James  Hardie.  A.  M. 

In  conformity  to  the  Act  of  Congress  of  the  United  States,  entitled 
"An  Act  for  the  encouragement  of  Learning,  by  securing  the  copies 
of  Maps,  Charts,  and  Books,  to  the  authors  and  proprietors  of  such 
copies,  during  the  time  therein  mentioned."  And  also  to  an  Act. 
entitled  "  An  Act,  supplementary  to  an  Act,  entitled  an  Act  for 
the  encouragement  of  Learning,  by  securing  the  copies  of  Maps, 
Charts,  and  Books,  to  the  authors  and  proprietors  of  such  copies,, 
during  the  times  therein  mentioned,  and  extending  the  benefits 
thereof  to  the  arts  of  designing,  engraving,  and  etching  historical 
and  other  prints." 

Clerk  of  the  Southern  District  ofJVew.rork 

Upwards  of  forty  years  have  elapsed,  since  my  arrival 
in  this  country,  during  the  greatest  part  of  which  time, 
the  different  spheres,  in  which  I  have  moved,  have  uni- 
formly placed  me  in  a  very  conspicuous  situation.  Hence 
it  is  well  known  to  many  of  my  fellovv-cititzens,  that  if  1 
had  made  a  proper  use  of  the  opportunities  presented  to 
me,  I  might,  agreeably  to  the  common  expression,  have 
been  now  independent.  But,  like  many  others,  on  whom 
God  has  been  graciously  pleased  to  bestow  considerable 
talents,  I  made  a  very  improper  use  of  them.  I  for  many 
years,  sacrificed  freely  at  the  shrine  of  Bacchus,  and  have 
duly  received  the  reward,  which,  in  general,  falls  to  the 
lot  of  his  votaries,  viz.  shame,  disgrace  and  poverty,  so 
that  I,  who  might  have  rode  in  my  coach,  was,  at  the 
age  of  sixty,  glad  to  seek  an  asylum  for  my  declining 
years,  in  the  Aims-House. 

About  two  months,  however,  previous  to  my  going 
there,  it  pleased  God,  "  from  whom  all  holy  desires,  all 
good  counsels,  and  all  just  works  do  proceed,"  to  endow 
me  with  sufficient  fortitude  to  overcome  the  greatest  ene- 
my, that  I  or  any  unfortunate  man  ever  encountered, 
I  mean,  Ardent  Spirits.  This  victory,  so  very  import- 
ant to  me,  was  obtained  on  the  12th  day  of  January  last 
(a  day,  which  as  long  as  I  live,  I  shall  ever  remember, 
with  thanksgiving  and  prayer,)  since  which  time,  I  have 
held,  in  perfect  abhorrence,  the  bewitching  draught.  The 
following  are  some  of  the  consequences  arising  from  this 
salutary  reform.  The  alteration  in  my  countenance  for 
the  letter,  has  struck  those,  who  were  more  intimately 
A  2 



acquainted  with  me,  with  pleasure,  as  well  as  astoimfi- 
raent ;  my  constitution,  which  was  greatly  shattered,  is# 
in  a  great  measure,  restored ;  and  what  is  of  much  great- 
er importance,  I  enjoy  a  uniform  serenity  and  composure 
of  mind,  to  which  I  had,  for  many  years,  been  an  absolute 
stranger.  To  this,  I  may  add,  as  another  blessing,  thai 
many  of  my  much  respected  friends,  who  lately  with  great 
propriety,  treated  me  in  a  cool  and  distant  manner,  now 
receive  me  with  a  degree  of  cordiality  and  friendship, 
which  abundantly  shew,  that  they  consider  me  as  a  new 

Amongst  those,  who  are  deservedly  branded  with  the 
detestable  epithet  of  drunkard,  charity  induces  me  to  be- 
lieve, that  there  are  few,  who  have  not  occasionally  de> 
termined  to  abandon  this  abominable  practice ;  but,  in 
their  attempt  to  effect  this  desirable  object,  their  com- 
mencement has  been  radically  wrong.  They  have 
set  out  in  their  own  strength,  and  not  as  they  ought  in 
that  of  God  the  Lord,  and  under  the  mistaken  idea, 
'hat  they  might  partially  indulge  in  their  favourite  vice 
and  leave  it  off  by  degrees.  Upon  this  subject,  I  can 
boldly  aver,  that  the  late  celebrated  Dr.  Rush,  of  Phila- 
delphia, in  his  invaluable  tract,  entitled,  "  An  inquiry  in- 
to the  effects  of  Ardent  Spirits  upon  the  human  body  and 
mind,"  expresses  himself  in  a  language  so  correct  and 
energetic,  that  it  seems  to  resemble  that  of  holy  writ.  "  It 
has  been  said,"  says  the  Doctor,  "that  the  disuse  of 
Spirits  should  be  gradual  ;  but  my  observation  authorises 
me  to  say,  that  persons,  who  have  been  addicted  to  them, 
should  abstain  from  them  suddenly  and  entirely.  i  Taste 
not,  handle  not,  touch  not,'  should  be  inscribed  upon  every 
vessel,  that  contains  Spirits  in  the  house  «f  a  man,  who 
wishes  to  be  cured  of  intemperance."  I  know,  from  ex- 
perience, that  when  a  person,  who  is  a  slave  to  ardent 
spirits,  shall  thus  abruptly  leave  them  off,  his  sufferings 
will  be  severe;  but  if  he  take  into  consideration,  that 
whatever  these  may  be,  there  is  no  danger,  that  his  tran- 
sition to  sober  habits  will  be  attended  with  any  bad  con- 
sequences ;  but  that  on  the  other  hand,  it  will/in  all  pro- 
bability, be  productive  of  permanent  health  of  body  and 
peace  of  mind,  he  will,  as  he  values  his  temporal  and  eternal 


happiness,  cheerfully  persevere,  and  in  due  time,  receive  a 
reward  of  inestimable  value,  if  he  faint  not.  Let  no  man, 
therefore,  when  he  reads  this  part  of  my  story,  say  that  he 
cannot  overcome  the  brutal  sin  of  drunkenness.  He  has 
only  tobe  sensible  of  the  enormity  of  the  crime,  to  put  on  a 
firm  and  decisive  resolution  against  it,  and  to  pray  fervently 
for  divine  assistance.  By  these  means,  he  may  rest  as- 
sured, that  his  efforts  will  be  crowned  with  success. 

It  is  to  be  lamented,  however,  that  there  are  many,  who 
consider  drunkenness  as  a  very  trivial  offence,  and  rather 
view  it  as  a  necessary  concomitant  of  good  fellowship. 
But  if  there  be  any  professor  of  the  Christian  religion, 
who  entertains  such  an  opinion,  let  him  read  with  atten- 
tion the  following  texts,  selected  from  the  sacred  Scrip- 
tures, and  he  will  be  convinced  of  his  errour. 

"  The  drunkard  shall  come  to  povert}'."  Prov.  xxiii.  2 1 . 

"  Woe  to  the  drunkards — the  drunkards  of  Ephraim 
shall  be  trodden  under  foot."     Isaiah  xxviii.  1 — 3. 

"  I  have  written  unto  you  not  to  keep  company,  if  any 
man,  that  is  called  a  brother,  be  a  drunkard — with  such 
an  one,  no,  not  to  eat."     1  Cor.  v.  11. 

"  Our  son  is  a  drunkard.  All  the  men  of  the  city  shall 
stone  him  with  stones,  that  he  die."     Deut.  xxi.  20. 

"  Be  not  deceived,  the  drunkard  shall  not  inherit  the 
kingdom  of  God."     1  Cor.  vi.  10. 

I  have  already  observed,  that  drunkenness  was  the 
cause,  which  compelled  me  to  seek  an  asylum  in  the  Alms 
House,  and  there  the  report  of  my  misconduct  had  prece- 
ded me.  This  circumstance,  at  first,  seemed  to  operate 
against  me  ;  but  I  had  no  just  cause  of  complaint,  as  my 
indiscretion  had  been  so  glaring,  that  I  had  very  deserv- 
edly become  an  object  of  suspicion  and  censure.  My 
reformation,  however,  became  known  to  Arthur  Bur- 
tis,  Esq.  the  superintendent,  soon  after  my  arrival,  who 
thenceforth,  with  that  benevolence,  which  he  uniformly 
displays  to  every  one,  who  deserves  it,  studied  to  pro- 
mote my  happiness.  On  the  14th  April,  with  the  con- 
sent of  William  Hoghland,  Esq.  the  worthy  superintend- 
ent of  the  Penitentiary,  I  was  made  gate-keeper  of  the 
Tread-Mill,  an  office,  at  which  I  would  have  formerly 
spurned ;  but  which,  when  I  considered  the  low  situation 


to  which  I  had  reduced  myself,  by  my  own  extravagance, 
I  accepted  with  gratitude.  Since  that  time,  I  have  wanted 
for  nothing,  and  as  I  have  been  kept  constantly  employ- 
ed,  I  enjoy  much  more  comfort  than  I  could  have  reason- 
ably expected. 

It  is  said  in  holy  writ,  that  "joy  shall  be  in  heaven 
over  one  sinner  that  repenteth,  more  than  over  ninety 
and  nine  just  persons,  that  need  no  repentance."  Luke 
xv.  7.  Let  the  drunkard  then  take  courage;  for  when  he 
(i  turneth  away  from  the  wickedness  that  he  hath  com- 
mitted, and  doeth  that  which  is  lawful  and  right,  he  shall 
save  his  soul  alive."  Ezekiel  xviii.  27,  and  though  it  be 
impossible  for  him,  while  in  this  probationary  state,  to 
participate  in  those  joys,  which  God  has  prepared,  in  the 
regions  above,  for  those  who  love  him  :  yet  he  may  rest 
assured,  that  notwithstanding  the  sneers  of  the  impious,, 
at  what  they  may  deem  timidity,  in  respect  to  the  impor- 
tant change  which  has  taken  place  in  his  conduct,  his  re- 
formation will  no  sooner  be  known  amongst  that  part  of 
his  acquaintances,  who  may  be  designated  wise  and  good. 
than  they  will  receive  the  returning  prodigal  with  un- 
speakable delight  as  a  "  brother,  who  was  dead  and  is 
alive  again,  who  was  lost  and  is  found."  Luke  xv.  32,  in 
consequence  of  which,  he  may  be  said  to  enjoy  a  little 
heaven  below. 

But  what,  it  may  be  asked,  has  all  this  to  do,  with  the 
subject  of  the  Tread-Mill  ?  I  answer  and  can  easily  prove 
to  the  satisfaction  of  my  readers,  that  it  is  immediately 
connected  with  it.  "  The  propensities  and  habits,"  says 
Governor  Wolcott,  of  Connecticut,  "  which  dispose  men 
to  the  commission  of  crimes,  are  violent  passions,  intem- 
perance and  dishonesty  :"  but  from  what  I  have  observ- 
ed, and  I  have  thought  upon  the  subject  long  before  I  had 
any  connection  with  the  Penitentiary,  I  am  induced  to  be- 
lieve, that  violent  passions  and  dishonesty  are,  in  gene- 
ral, the  effects  of  intemperance :  so  that  intemperance 
alone  may  be  considered  as  the  primum  mobile,  or  first 
cause  of  all  the  evil,  which  it  is  my  lot  to  witness  daily, 
in  that  place,  where  attempts  are  made,  by  punish* 
ment  and  actual  privations,  to  convince  offenders  thai 
"  the  icay  of  transgressors  is  hard"    Prow  xiii.  15. 

PREFACE.  vii 

But  intemperance  is  an  evil  of  much  greater  magnitude 
than  is  generally  imagined,  and  spares  no  rank  or  condition 
of  persons  in  the  community;  being  equally  destructive  to 
the  happiness  of  its  votaries,  whether  they  wallow  in  af- 
fluence, walk  in  the  middling  spheres  of  life,  or  be  sunk  in 
indigence  and  obscurity.  Tt  fills  our  prisons  with  debtors, 
our  Aims-Houses  with  paupers,  our  Bridewells,  Peni- 
tentiaries, and  State-Prisons,  with  criminals  and  our 
cemeteries,  with  many  tenants,  who,  it  is  greatly  to  be 
feared,  were  ill  prepared  to  meet  their  God,  and  who  in 
point  of  number,  exceed  those,  who  have  fallen  victims 
to  all  other  diseases  put  together.  With  respect  to  our 
State-Prison  and  Penitentiary  in  this  City,  I  fear  there  is 
too  much  truth  in  the  assertion,  which  has  been  made  by 
some,  that  there  are  more  than  seven  eights  of  their  re- 
spective inmates,  who  have  brought  themselves  into  their 
present  situation,  by  the  inordinate  use  of  Ardent  Spirits. 
Of  all  the  calamities,  which  ever  befell  the  United  States^ 
this  is,  by  far  the  most  dreadful.  Of  war  and  pestilence 
it  may  be  said,  that  they  slay  their  thousands;  but  of  in- 
temperance, that  it  destroys  its  tens  of  thousands.  Ye 
ministers  of  the  blessed  gospel  '  ye  representatives  of  the 
people,  whether  in  our  national  or  state  legislatures !  ye 
governors  and  judges  !  ye  patriots,  philanthropists,  phi-, 
losophers,  and  sages !  arouse  from  your  lethargy  and 
unite  your  exertions,  in  removing  this  indelible  degrace  of 
our  beloved  country,  this  fell,  this  ruthless  destroyer,  and 
if  you  should  be  so  fortunate  as  to  succeed  in  the  enter- 
prise,  you  will  achieve  more  real  glory,  than  if,  by  your 
united  wisdom,  you  |iad  planned  the  destruction  of  some 
terribly  powerful  fleets  and  armies.  Then  there  will  be 
a  reformation  of  morals,  which  will  render  our  Peniten- 
tiary system  as  complete  as  the  friends  of  humanity  could 
reasonably  expect,  in  this  state  of  imperfection,  and  many 
hundreds  of  those,  who  are  now  the  pests  of  society, 
would  find  themselves  much  more  happy,  in  being  able,  by 
their  honest  industry,  to  prqvide  for  themselves. 

It  is  now  time,  that  I  should  draw  this  preface^ 
which  is  considerably  longer  than  I  at  first  intended,  to  a 
close.  But  before  I  conclude,  it  is  proper  I  should  ac« 
knowledge;  that/or  some  of  the  useful  information  contain- 

via  PREFACE. 

ed  in  the  following  pages,  I  am  greatly  indebted  to  Ste- 
phen Allen,  Esq.  our  late  Mayor,  who  very  obligingly 
supplied  me  with  sundry  books  and  pamphlets  well  suited 
to  my  purpose.  From  one  of  these,  in  particular,  enti- 
tled, "  Reports  on  the  Stepping  or  Discipline  Mill,  at 
the  Nero-York  Penitentiary,  together  with  sundry  letters 
on  the  subject,  written  by  the  (said)  Mayor,"  and  pub- 
lished by  order  of  the  Common  Council,  January  20, 
1823, 1  have  freely  extracted  some  interesting  remarks, 
for  which  liberty,  I  with  pleasure,  make  this  grateful  ac- 

To  Thomas  Eddy,  Esq.  a  gentleman,  whose  zeal  in 
the  cause  of  humanity  is  well  known  in  Europe  as  well  as 
in  this  country,  I  likewise,  return  my  sincere  thanks,  for 
the  many  useful  hints  as  well  as  for  the  pamphlets,  with 
which  he  was  pleased  to  honour  me.  From  these,  I  trust, 
that  I  have  reaped  considerable  benefit  ;  but  more  espe- 
cially from  his  "Communication  to  Stephen  Allen,  Esq. 
Mayor  of  the  City  of  New- York,"  &c.  dated  10th  month, 
(October)  8th,  1823,  and  published  by  order  of  the  Cor- 
poration. This  is  a  very  interesting  tract,  and  points  out 
in  a  concise  and  impressive  manner  the  present  defects  in 
the  mode  of  employing  convicts  on  the  Tread-Mill  and 
the  adequate  remedy.  Of  this,  it  will  be  seen,  that  I  have 
duly  availed  myself,  when  treating  on  this  important  part 
of  my  subject. 

On  the  whole,  I  have  now  only  to  observe,  that  in  the 
following  pages,  I  have  aimed  at  accuracy  in  every  line, 
and  have  been  actuated  by  a  sincere  desire  to  communi- 
cate what  appeared  to  me  to  be  useful  information.  How 
far  I  have  succeeded,  it  will  rest  with  a  judicious  public  to 


Bellevuey  22d  October ,  1524. 







It  has,  for  many  centuries,  been  the  barbarous  practice 
of  most  of  the  legislators  of  Europe,  to  endeavour  to  les- 
sen the  number  of  crimes,  not  by  the  reformation  of  offen- 
ders ;  but  by  cutting  them  off  from  society,  by  a  shameful 
and  ignominious  death,  and  that  too  often,  for  offences  of 
so  trivial  a  nature,  as,  by  no  means  to  justify  the  infliction 
of  so  dreadful  a  punishment.  No  one  possessed  of  com- 
mon sense  will  deny,  that  the  life  of  a  man  is  worth  that 
of  many  of  the  most  valuable  animals  ;  yet,  by  the  laws 
of  Great-Britain,  on  which  the  criminal  statutes  of  the 
American  colonies,  (now  the  United  States)  were  found- 
ed, many  a  poor  wretch  has  finished  his  career  on  the  gal- 
lows, for  stealing  an  ox  or  a  sheep,  although  according  to 
the  laws  of  Moses,  the  punishment  to  be  inflicted,  in  such 
case,  was  as  follows  :  "  If  any  man  shall  steal  an  ox  or  a 
sheep,  and  kill  it,  or  sell  it,  he  shall  restore  five  oxen  for 
an  ox,  and  four  sheep  for  a  sheep."  Exodus  xxii.  1.  But 
the  least  reflection  might  have  convinced  those,  who  act- 
ed in  this  manner,  that  their  laws,  which,  might  be  said  to 
have  been  written  in  blood,  by  no  means,  answered  the 
puTpose,  for  which  they  were  intended*    For  is  it  not 


well  known,  that,  in  London,  where  executions  are  not 
only  frequent,  but  numerous,  persons  have  been  often  de- 
tected in  the  act  of  picking  pockets,  at  the  very  moment, 
when  they  saw  others  struggling  in  the  agonies  of  death 
for  the  commission  of  the  same  offence  ?  And  does  not 
every  aged  citizen  of  this  state  recollect,  that  immediate- 
ly after  the  revolution,  and  before,  there  had  been  leisure 
to  revise  our  criminal  code,  executions  were  common, 
particularly  in  this  city,  for  burglaries,  robberies,  rapes, 
forgeries,  and  even  for  thefts  ?  And  if  he  take  into  con- 
sideration, that  the  population  was  not  then  one  sixth 
part  as  great  as  it  is  now — will  he  not  be  satisfied,  that, 
notwithstanding  the  savage  cruelty,  with  which  crimes 
were  at  that  time  punished,  they  were  fully  as  great,  in 
proportion,  as  they  are  at  present  ? 

From  these,  as  well  as  from  other  considerations,  the 
friends  of  humanity,  being  well  convinced,  that  the  mul- 
tiplicity of  sanguinary  punishments  was  worse  than  use- 
less, deemed  it  a  sacred  duty  to  devote  their  attention  to 
the  discovery  of  some  means,  by  which  men  might  be  de- 
terred from  the  commission  of  crimes,  without  having  re- 
course to  the  dreadful  practice  of  taking  thp  lives  of  male- 
factors for  the  sake  of  example.  Many,  indeed,  have 
gone  so  far,  as  to  doubt  the  propriety  of  taking  the  life  of 
a  man,  by  legal  process,  for  any  offence  whatever ;  while 
others  are  willing  that  this  punishment  should  be  inflict- 
ed for  murder,  because  they  consider  it  as  the  command 
of  God,  that  "  Whosoever  sheddeth  man's  blood,  by  man 
shall  his  blood  be  shed."  Gen.  ix.  6.  It  is  not  my  inten- 
tion to  express  my  own  opinion  upon  this  subject,  as  it 
would  lead  me  from  the  object,  which  I  have  more  imme- 
diately in  view.  I  shall  therefore,  only  observe,  that  as  life 
is  the  immediate  gift  of  God,  and  when  taken  away,  can 
only  be  restored  by  him,  who  gave  it,  the  punishment  of 
death  ought  never  to  be  inflicted,  even  for  the  most  enor- 
mous crimes,  without  extreme  caution.  Human  tribunals, 
in  the  administration  of  justice,  have  often  erred ;  but 
when  their  sentence  goes  no  farther  than  to  deprive  an 
offender  of  his  liberty  or  property,  if  it  should  afterwards 
appear,  that  he  was  innocent,  it  is  easy  to  restore  him  to 
the  full  enjoyment  of  either  j  but  when  life  has  been  taken 


away,  it  is  far  beyond  the  reach  of  human  power  to  make 

In  Great-Britain,  for  many  years,  the  punishment  for 
certain  offences,  which  had  heretofore  been  deemed  capi- 
tal, has  been  changed  to  banishment.  This  appears  to 
have  been  one  of  the  most  rational  modes  of  preventing 
Crimes,  which  could  have  been  adopted,  as  the  exile 
was  rendered  fully  as  incapable  of  transgressing,  at 
least,  in  Great-Britain  or  Ireland,  as  if  he  had  suffered 
death;  and  it  was  hoped,  that  the  circumstance  of  hi? 
being  banished  to  a  place  so  far  remote,  as  to  render 
it  almost  impossible,  that  he  should  ever  return,  would 
deter  others  from  the  commission  of  crimes,  for  which 
they  would  be  compelled  to  leave  the  land  of  their  nativ- 
ity, their  relations,  and  friends.  According  to  late  ac- 
counts, however,  many  of  the  convicts  have  written  so 
flattering  accounts  of  their  success  to  their  friends  at 
home,  as  to  induce  numbers  to  violate  the  laws,  in  order 
that  they  might  be  sent  to  join  their  former  companions, 
and  to  participate  in  their  prosperity.  From  this  circum- 
stance, government  has  of  late  found  it  necessary  to  ban- 
ish their  culprits  to  a  less  salubrious  climate,  where  they 
will  be  kept  at  hard  labour  on  fortifications  and  other 
public  works,  and  where  the  chance  of  accumulating  pro- 
perty will  be  less  than  in  New-Holland.  But  it  would  be 
needless  to  enter  on  the  advantages  or  disadvantages, 
which  might  result  to  the  United  States  from  the  banish- 
ment of  their  criminals,  as  they  have  no  territory,  to 
which  they  could  send  them,  from  which  it  would  not  be 
practicable  for  them  to  return. 

The  late  grand  Duke  of  Tuscany  was  the  first  European 
sovereign,  who  abolished  the  punishment  of  death,  for  all 
crimes  whatever,  in  his  dominions,  and  enacted,  that,  in- 
stead thereof,  criminals  should  be  sentenced  by  the  judges 
to  confinement  at  hard  labour  for  life,  or  for  a  shorter  pe- 
riod, according  to  the  nature  of  the  crimes,  of  which  they 
should  be  convicted.  When  that  prince  ascended  the 
throne,  his  dominions  were  overrun  by  robbers  and  assas- 
sins. Robberies  and  murders  were  common,  and  the 
wheel,  the  rack,  and  the  gallows  were  seen  in  all  quarters. 
On  reading  the  celebrated  work  of  theMarquis  Beccaria 


he  entirely  abolished  capital  punishments.  An  army  of 
executioners  with  their  instruments  of  death  were  dis- 
missed, and  milder  laws  rendered  Tuscany  one  of  the 
best  ordered  states  in  Europe. 

Pennsylvania  was  the  first  of  the  United  States,  who  to 
her  immortal  honour,  erected  a  State-Prison,  or  as  it  is 
called,  "  The  Penitentiary,"  in  the  City  Philadelphia. 
This  institution  commenced  its  operations  in  the  year 
1790.  The  example  was  followed  by  the  State  of  New- 
York,  who  erected  a  State-Prison  in  the  metropolis, 
which  was  opened  for  the  reception  of  convicts,  in 
August,  1796.  According  to  the  laws  of  these  two 
states,  it  is  seldom  necessary  to  inflict  capital  punish- 
ments. In  the  state  of  Pennsylvania,  they  are  exclusive- 
ly confined  to  those,  who  have  committed  murder,  and 
in  that  of  New-York,  those  guilty  of  murder  and  arson* 
are  the  only  persons,  who  are  punished  in  that  man- 
ner. In  most  of  the  other  states,  institutions  of  the  same 
kind  have  been  established  and  the  number  of  capital  of- 
fences greatly  diminished. 

In  taking  notice  of  the  very  important  change,  which 
has,  of  late  years,  taken  place,  in  favour  of  humanity  in 
general,  and  in  the  reformation  of  our  criminal  codes,  in 
particular,  it  would  be  an  unpardonable  omission,  if  I  did 
not  bestow  that  tribute  of  applause  to  the  Society  of 
Friends,  commonly  called  Quakers,  to  which  they  are  so 
justly  entitled  for  their  active  and  unremi*ted  exertions 
in  effecting  this  truly  desirable  object.  Indeed  I  have 
ever  found  that  when  these  benevolent  people  embark  in 
any  cause,  it  may  be  considered  as  a  righteous  one,  and 
such  is  their  perseverance,  that  in  the  accomplishment  of 
their  object,  they  frequently  overcome  difficulties,  which 
to  others,  would  seem  insurmountable. 

But  to  return  from  my  digression.  In  the  course  of 
time,  as  the  state  increased  in  population,  and  as  depraved 
characters  flocked  to  our  metropolis  from  all  quarters,  as 

*  Piracy,  (reason,  and  mail  robbery,  are  punishable  with  death  ; 
but  these  crimes  are  cognizable  in  the  Courts  of  the  United 
States,  and  not  in  those  of  the  individual  States,  in  which  they 
may  have  been  committed. 


to  the  place,  which,  of  all  others,  was  best  suited  to  carry 
on  their  depredations,  the  number  of  criminals  had  be- 
come so  great,  in  the  State-Prison,  and,  particularly  in 
the  Bridewell,  as  to  render  it  necessary  to  erect  another 
Prison,  to  which  the  name  of  The  Penitentiary  was 


Of  the  Penitentiary  System  in  the  State  of  New-York. 

A  short  time  previous  to  the  passing  of  the  law  for  the 
erection  of  this  building,  the  Bridewell  was  so  exceeding- 
ly crowded,  that  the  health  of  the  prisoners  was  thereby 
greatly  endangered  and  it  was  indicted  by  the  Grand  Ju- 
ry as  a  nuisance.  All  persons  accused  of  larceny  and 
other  minor  offences,  after  as  well  as  before  conviction, 
as  well  as  vagrants,  were  then  confined  in  that  prison, 
which  may  easily  account  for  the  excessive  number  of  its 
inhabitants.  But  besides  this  evil,  there  was  another, 
which  called  loudly  for  correction.  By  far  the  greatest 
part  of  the  prisoners,  were  maintained  at  the  public  ex- 
pense, while  they  remained  in  a  state  of  absolute  idleness  j 
as  it  was  impossible  for  the  commissioners  to  devise  any 
kind  of  work,  that  was  suitable  for  them,  except  the  pick- 
ing of  oakum,  which  gave  employment  only  to  a  few. 
This  was  a  great  injury,  not  only  to  the  community,  but 
likewise  to  the  convicts  ;  as  it  is  one  of  the  principal  ob- 
jects of  our  system  of  discipline,  to  endeavour  to  reform 
offenders,  by  teaching  them  habits  of  industry. 

To  obviate  these  evils,  and  to  diminish,  in  future,  the 
number  of  those,  who  might  be  sent  to  the  State-Prison, 
or  confined  in  Bridewell,  the  crime  of  pettit  larceny5 
which  was  then  limited  to  thefts  not  exceeding  $12^  in, 
value  was  extended  to  that  of  $25.  Thus  all  those  con- 
victed of  thefts  to  the  value  of,  from  $12|  to  $25  inclu- 
sive, who  were,  according  to  the  former  law,  to  be  con- 
lined  in  the  State-Prison,  are,  by  the  new,  to  be  sent  to 
the  Penitentiary ;  as  well  as  those,  who  may  steal  goods 


valued  at  $!2|-  or  less,  other  minor  offenders  and  va- 
grants, all  of  whom  were  formerly  confined  in  Bridewell, 
till  the  expiration  of  their  respective  sentences. 

By  the  present  law,  all  persons  whose  offences  are  to 
he  punished  by  confinement,  at  hard  labour,  are  immedi- 
ately after  conviction,  sent  either  to  the  State-Prison  01 
Penitentiary,  except  a  very  few,  who,  in  consequence  ol 
their  extreme  youth,  bad  health,  the  trifling  nature  of 
dieir  offence  or  some  other  cause,  the  humanity  of  the 
judges  them  thereunto  moving,  are  sentenced  to  confine- 
ment in  Bridewell,  for  some  short  time. 

No  criminal  can  be  confined  in  the  State-Prison,  for  a 
leas  time  than  three  years  and  one  day  ;  and  this  period, 
which  is,  in  general,  fixed  by  law,  thereby  leaving 
nothing  to  the  discretion  of  the  judges,  except  in  some 
particular  cases,  is  extended  according  to  the  nature  of 
the  offence,  from  three  years  and  a  day  to  twenty-one 
years — and  for  the  crimes  of  highway  robbery ,  burglary, 
forgery,  counterfeiting  and  rape,  criminals  are  confined 
during  life.  For  all  other  offences,  except  the  few,  which 
are  capital,  the  convicts  are  sent  to  the  Penitentiary,  for 
such  terms,  not  less  than  three  months,  nor  more  than 
three  years,  as  to  the  judges'may,  from  the  nature  of  the 
case,  appear  proper.  If,  however,  a  criminal  should  be 
found  guilty  on  two  indictments,  at  the  same  court,  he 
will  receive  sentence  on  each;  so  that  after  the  expira- 
tion of  the  term,  for  which  he  was  to  have  been  confined 
for  the  first  offence,  he  immediately  enters  on  his  impri- 
sonment for  the  second.  &c.  for  every  conviction,  which 
may  be  against  him.  if  a  criminal  should  undergo  his 
regular  term  of  punishment  in  the  Penitentiary,  for  pettit 
larceny, and  afterwards  be  found  guilty  of  a  similar  offence, 
the  law  considers  it  as  grand  larceny,  and  requires  that 
the  offender  be  sent  to  the  State-Prison,  and  not  to  the 
Penitentiary ,  for  the  same. 

Vagrants  are  committed  by  the  Police  Justices,  for  any 
time  not  exceeding  six  months,  and  may  be  liberated,  on  a 
respectable  person  becoming  surety  for  their  good  be- 
haviour, or  that  they  will  leave  the  city  and  county  ;  but 
those  condemned  by  the  court,  can  only  be  discharged  by 
a  pardon  from  his  Excellency  the  Governor,  which  is,  by 
no  means,  easy  to  be  obtained. 


I  shall  now  proceed  to  give  a  brief  account  of  The 
Penitentiary,  which  is  a  stone  building,  150  feet  in 
length,  and  50  in  breadth.  It  is  situate  at  Bellevue,  con- 
tiguous to  the  new  Alms  House,  near  to  the  East  River, 
on  as  pleasant  and  salubrious  a  spot,  as  can  be  found  on 
the  continent,  and  is  nearly  three  miles  distant  from  the 
City  Hall.  It  was  opened  on  May  18,  1816,  and  exclu* 
sively  appropriated  to  the  confinement,  at  hard  labour, 
of  persons  who  should  be  convicted  at  the  Court  of  Ses-. 
sions,  in  this  city  of  petit  larceny,  fraud,  misdemeanours, 
violent  cases  of  assault  and  battery ;  and  of  vagrants.  01 
these,  a  number  were  set  to  work  upon  the  roads,  some  in 
the  garden,  some  at  house-work,  a  considerable  number 
in  picking  oakum,  and  the  remainder  at  such  kinds 
of  employment  as  appeared  most  proper  to  the  Commis- 
sioners of  the  Aims-House  and  Bridewell.*  To  these  gen- 
tlemen, it  was  long  a  matter  of  considerable  difficulty,  to 
devise  a  regular  and  proper  employment  for  the  prisoners, 
which  might  be  constantly  resorted  to,  without  difficulty, 
at  all  times  and  seasons.  The  species  of  prison  labour 
suitable  for  this  purpose  ought  necessarily  to  be  simple  j 
to  carry  it  into  effec*,  no  previous  instruction  should  be 
requisite,  and  the  materials  or  instruments,  put  into  their 
hands,  should  be  liable  neither  to  waste  nor  misapplica- 
tion, and  but  little  subject  to  tear  and  wear,  while,  at  the 
same  time,  the  work  in  which  they  are  engaged,  ought  to 
be  of  some  benefit  to  the  public. 

But  while  the  Commissioners  were  thus  at  a  loss  for  a 
mode,  by  which  they  might  be  able,  at  all  times,  to  give 
constant  employment  to  the  prisoners,  the  Treap  or 
Stepping  Mill,  was  introduced  to  the  notice  of  Stephen- 
Allen,  Esquire,  who  was  then  Mayor,  by  two  gentle- 
men of  this  city,  viz.  Mr.  Isaac  Collins,  one  of  the 
managers  of  the  Society  for  the  prevention  of  Pauper- 
ism, and  Mr.  Stephen  Greelet,  who  had  received  some 
pamphlets  containing  complete  information  on  that  sub- 
ject from  England.  His  Honour  laid  the  subject  before  the 
Common  Council,  and  is  entitled  to  great  praise,  for  the  zeal 

*  These  are  five  in   number,  and  at  present,  consist  of  John 
Targee,  Thomas  R.  Smith,  Peter  Stagg,  John  I  Westervelt,  anfl 
Arthur  Burti?,  (Superintendent  of  the  Alms  House)  Esquires. 
B  2 


with  which  he  pressed  the  establishment  of  such  an  insti- 
tution in  this  city.  The  board  took  the  matter  into  con- 
sideration and  being  satisfied  of  its  utility,  ordered,  that 
a  Tread-Mill  should  be  erected  within  the  limits  of  the 
Penitentiary.  Of  this,  I  shall  give  an  account  in  the 
next  chapter. 


Of  the  origin  of  the  Tread-Mill,  its  construction  and 

The  attention  of  "  The  Society  for  the  improvement 
of  prison  discipline  in  England"  as  well  as  of  the  "  Com' 
missioners  of  the  Alms  House  and  Bridewell,  in  this  Ci- 
ty, had  been  long  devoted  to  the  discovery  of  some  plan 
for  the  suitable,  as  well  as  the  effectual  employment  of 
prisoneis.  All  attempts  of  the  kind  had,  heretofore  been 
attended  with  insuperable  difficulties ;  but  the  Tread- 
Mill  was,  in  the  year  1818,  invented  by  Mr.  William 
Cubitt,  of  Ipswich,  and  erected  in  the  House  of  Correc- 
tion at  Brixton,  near  London.  "  Although,"  say  the  so- 
ciety, in  their  annual  report,  of  1821,  "  but  very  lately 
introduced  into  practice,  the  effects,  in  every  instance, 
proved  highly  useful,  in  decreasing  the  number  of  re-com- 
mitments, as  many  prisoners  have  been  known  to  declare, 
that  they  would  sooner  undergo  any  species  of  privation 
than  return  to  the  house  of  correction,  when  once  releas- 
ed-" The  salutary  effects  of  this  invention  was  so  con- 
spicuous, that  others  were  soon  after  attached  to  many  of 
the  criminal  prisons  in  Great-Britain,  and  so  rapid  was 
their  increase,  that  from  "  The  fifth  report  of  the  Society 
for  the  improvement  of  Prison  Discipline,"  now  before 
me,  one  or  more  was  erected  in  no  less  than  forty-four  dif- 
ferent places,  in  the  year  1823.  Such,  at  that  time,  had 
been  the  result,  in  those  prisons,  where  this  species  of  cor- 
rective discipline  had  been  enforced,  that  the  number  of 
re-committals  had  been  diminished  by  one  half. 

The  idea  of  attaching  this  species  of  labour  to  our  Pe- 


fiitentiary  system,  as  I  have  already  hinted,  was  first  sug-. 
gested  to  Mr.  Allen,  our  then  Mayor,  by  Messieurs  Isaac 
Collins  and  Stephen  Grelett,  who  kindly  furnished  him 
with  a  report  from  the  said  society,  containing  correct 
engravings  of  the  buildings  and  machinery  for  the  mill, 
with  a  description  of  its  operations  and  advantages,  to* 
gether  with  much  other  useful  information  on  the  subject, 
and  Mr.  Thomas  Eddy  presented  to  the  Commissioners 
a  plan  of  the  machinery.  Th°se  gentlemen,  all  of  whom 
are  members  of  the  Society  of  Friends,  were  convinced 
from  the  perusal  of  the  aforesaid  documents,  that  the 
savings  to  the  public,  in  those  prisons  where  Tread-Mills 
had  been  introduced,  were  very  considerable,  and  that 
the  labour  as  a  corrective  punishment,  was  neither 
intolerably  severe,  nor  injurious  to  health,  while,  at  the 
same  time,  it  produced  most  salutary  effects  upon  the  pri- 
soners. They,  therefore,  deemed  it  their  duty  to  endea- 
vour to  get  it  introduced  into  this  city,  and  for  their  zea- 
lous exertions,  towards  the  accomplishment  to  this  desi- 
rable object,  are  justly  entitled  to  the  gratitude  of  their 

The  necessary  building  and  machinery  for  the  Tread- 
Mill  were  finished  on  the  7th  September,  1822,  and  on 
the  23d  of  the  same  month,  it  was  put  in  operation.  The 
following  are  the  advantages,  which  result  from  this  spe- 
cies of  prison-labour. 

1st.  No  skill  or  time  is  requisite  to  learn  the  working 
of  it. 

2d.  The  prisoners  cannot  neglect  their  task,  nor  do  it 
remissly,  as  all  must  work  equally,  in  proportion  to  then 

3d.  It  can  be  used  for  every  kind  of  manufactory,  to 
which  water,  steam,  wind  or  animal  power  is  usually  ap- 
plied, and  especially  to  the  grinding  of  grain,  for  which 
every  prison  is  at  a  great  expense. 

4th.  As  the  mechanism  of  a  Tread-Mill  is  not  of  a 
complicated  nature,  the  regular  employment,  which  it  af- 
fords, is  not  likely  to  be  often  suspended,  for  want  of  re- 
pairs in  the  machinery,  and  should  the  supply  of  grain,  at 
anytime,  fail,  it  is  not  necessary,  that  the  labour  of  the 
prisoners  should  be  suspended  j  nor  can  they  be  aware 


of  the  circumstance;  the  supply  of  labour  may,  there- 
fore be  considered  as  unfailing. 

5th.  It  is  constant  and  sufficiently  severe  ;  but  it  is  its 
monotonous  steadiness  and  not  its  severity,  which  consti- 
tutes its  terror,  and  frequently,  breaks  down  the  obsti- 
nate spirit. 

The  house,  in  which  the  whole  of  the  machinery  is  fix- 
ed, is  built  of  stone,  sixty  feet  in  lentgh,  by  thirty  in 
breadth,  and  is  two  stories  and  a  garret  in  height.  Each 
of  these  stories  is  divided  into  two  apartments,  by  a  strong 
wall,  on  that  side  of  which,  nearest  the  prison,  are  placed 
the  wheels,  noio  four  in  number,  on  which  the  labour  is  per- 
formed, viz.  two  on  the  lower  apartment,  on  which  men 
are  exclusively  employed,  and  two  on  the  upper,  which 
are  worked  by  women.  On  the  other  side,  in  the  lower 
apartment  are  placed  the  bolting  machine  and  proper 
conveniences  for  the  receipt  of  the  flour,  and  in  the  up- 
per the  mill-stones,  hopper  and  screen.  The  garret  floor 
is  used  as  a  granary. 

As  all  the  wheels  are  exactly  of  the  same  dimensions^ 
the  description  of  one  will  answer  for  the  whole.  The 
shaft,  which  was,  at  first,  of  wood,  though  14  or  15  in- 
ches in  diameter,  was  found,  by  experience,  to  be  insuffir 
cient  in  point  of  strength,  as  the  power  employed  in  the 
operation  soon  snapped  it  in  pieces.  It  is  now  made  of 
cast  iron,  is  only  5  inches  in  diameter,  and  will  no  doubt, 
last  for  many  years.  The  whole  of  the  wheel,  which 
was,  likewise  of  wood,  is  now,  exclusive  of  the  tread 
boards,  made  of  the  same  material.  It  has  much  less 
friction  than  the  former,  is  more  regular  in  its  motion 
and  less  liable  to  be  affected  by  changes  of  weather. 

The  wheel,  which  is  exactly  similar  to  a  common 
water  wheel,  is  five  feet  two  inches  in  diameter,  15  and 
a  half  feet  in  circumference,  and  24  feet  in  length.  The 
tread  boards  or  steps  are  formed  in  its  circumference  with 
a  rise  of  7\  inches  at  proper  distances.  These  run 
horizontal  with  the  shaft  or  axle,  and  are  so  constructed, 
that  from  8  to  16  persons  can  work  upon  the  wheel  at 
one  time.  Their  weight  is  the  whole  moving  power  of 
the  machine,  and  has  the  greatest  effect  when  applied  up- 
on the  circumference  at  a  level  with  the  axle,  that  being 


the  greatest  point  of  power.  To  secure  this  mechanical 
advantage,  a  screen  of  boards  is  fixed  up,  in  an  inclined 
position  above  the  wheel,  so  as  to  prevent  the  prisoners 
from  climbing  or  stepping  up  higher  than  the  level  re- 
quires. A  hand  rail  is  fixed  upon  this  screen,  of  the 
same  length  as  the  wheel,  by  holding  which,  they  retain 
their  upright  position  upon  the  revolving  wheel. 

As  soon  as  it  is  intended,  that  the  prisoners  should  be- 
gin their  work,  the  keepers  order  them  to  go  on  the  wheel, 
and  when  the  requisite  number  have  ranged  themselves 
upon  it,  it  commences  its  revolutions.  The  effects,  then, 
to  every  individual  is  simply  that  of  ascending  an  endless 
flight  of  stairs  ;  their  combined  weight  acting  upon  every 
treading  board,  precisely  in  the  same  manner  as  a  stream 
of  water  upon  the  float-board  of  a  water-mill. 

During  the  time,  that  the  wheel  is  in  operation,  each 
person  gradually  advances  from  the  end,  at  which  he 
mounted  towards  the  opposite  end,  from  whence  he 
descends  for  rest,  another  immediately  mounting  as  he 
had  done,  to  keep  up  the  number  required,  without  stop- 
ping the  machine.  The  geering  of  the  wheel  is  so  fixed, 
that  a  bell  strikes  every  half  minute,  and  this  directs  the 
prisoners,  that  one  man  should  go  off  the  wheel  at  one  end 
and  another  come  on  at  the  other.  The  interval  may  then 
be  portioned  to  each  man  by  regulating  the  number  re- 
quired to  work  the  wheel  with  the  whole  number  of  the 
gang.  Thus  if  it  should  consist  of  24  persons,  and  16  be 
required  to  be  on  the  wheel  at  once,  each  man  will  be 
on  the  wheel  8  minutes,  and  off  four,  that  is,  each  person 
will  be  allowed  to  rest  20  minutes  in  every  hour  of  la- 
bour. This  is  the  regulation,  which  is  generally  observ- 
ed, during  winter ;  but  if  it  were  enforced  in  summer,  it 
would  be  too  severe,  perhaps,  impossible  for  the  prisoners 
to  support.  It  is,  therefore,  not  unusual,  during  the  hot 
weather,  to  have  the  same  number  on  the  wheel,  as  there 
is  off,  so  that  each  prisoner  has  an  equal  portion  of  rest 
and  labour,  during  the  time  he  is  at  work.  By  varying  the 
number  on  the  wheel,  or  the  work  inside  the  mill,  so  as 
to  increase  or  diminish  its  velocity,  the  degree  of  labour  to 
the  prisoner  may  be  also  regulated. 

To  convey  to  my  readers,  a  more  adequate  idea  of  the 


manner,  in  which  prisoners  work  upon  the  Tread-Mill,  1 
know  of  nothing,  which  the  operation  so  much  resembles 
as  that  of  a  squirrel,  on  a  wheel,  in  its  cage.  The  little 
animal  uses  its  utmost  exertions  to  get  to  the  top ;  but 
though  it  is  unceasing  in  its  endeavours,  it  still  remains 
stationary  and  never  rises  one  step  higher  than  it  was  be- 
fore. There  is  this  difference,  however,  that  the  squir- 
rel climbs  on  the  concave  or  mside  of  the  wheel,  while 
the  criminals  climb  on  the  convex  or  outside. 

There  are  now,  as  has  been  already  observed,  four 
wheels  in  operation,  at  the  Penitentiary,  Bellevue,  and 
these  are  so  fixed,  as  by  means  of  spur  or  cog-wheels,  to 
regulate  the  whole  of  the  machinery  attached  to  the  struc- 
ture. There  are  2  pairs  of  millstones,  both  of  which  are 
sometimes  in  motion  at  once,  although  it  is  most  common 
to  use  only  one  pair  at  a  time.  The  purposes,  to  which 
the  mill  has  been  heretofore  applied,  has  been  the  grinding 
of  Indian  corn  and  rye,  for  the  use  of  the  establishments, 
consisting  of  the  Alms- House,  the  Penitentiary  and  Bride- 
well, by  which  a  considerable  saving  is  made  to  the  pub- 
lic. They  grind  daily  from  forty  to  fifty  bushels,  and  if 
an  additional  number  of  hands  were  employed,  the  quan- 
tity ground  might  be  increased  to  from  bO  to  70  bushels 
per  day.  The  power  necessary  to  grind  grain  into  flout 
must  be  sufficient  to  turn  the  mill-stone  90  times  in  a  min- 
ute, which  will  give  a  Tread-Mill  a  sufficient  rotary  mo» 
tion  to  turn  on  its  axis  once  in  20  seconds.  This  is  as 
fast  as  a  person  can  conveniently  step;  a  wheel,  of  five 
feet  two  inches,  with  sufficient  length  to  hold  IG  persons, 
will  possess  the  requisite  power  to  grind  grain. 

I  shall  conclude  this  chapter  by  an  extract  from  the 
description  of  the  Tread-Mill  by  Mr.  Cubitt,  its  inventor. 
(t  Much  of  the  efficacy  of  this  punishment"  says  he,  "  will 
depend  upon  the  judicious  arrangement  of  the  machinery, 
and  the  attention  that  is  paid  to  the  degree,  in  which  the 
labour  is  applied.  Thus,  if  th^  revolutions  of  the  Tread- 
wheel  are  performed  too  slow,  or  if  the  number  of  the 
prisoners  as  relays  bears  too  !ar?e  a  proportion  to  those, 
on  the  wheel,  the  labour  to  each  may  become  so  feeble  as 
totally  to  fail  of  its  effect.  With  regard  to  the  revolution 
of  the  wheel  the  usual  rate  imposed  on  a  prisoner  at 


Brixton  is  from  45  to  50  steps  per  minute.  The  pro- 
portion of  prisoners  resting,  to  those  on  the  wheel,  ought 
not  to  exceed  one  third ;  this  error  is  often  liable  to  be 
committed  in  crowded  prisons,  and  when  that  is  the  case, 
the  discipline  to  the  whole  set  may  be  rendered  almost 
nugatory."  I  shall  no  .  proceed  to  consider  tne  effects 
of  the  Tread-mill  on  the  morals  and  health  of  the  con- 


On  the  effects  of  the  Tread-mill  as  it  respects  the  mor- 
als of  the  convicts. 

On  this  part  of  my  subject,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  that  the 
friends  of  humanity,  who  had  fondly  anticipated,  that  the 
Tread-Mill  would  be  highly  conducive  to  the  reformation 
of  offenders  as  well  as  to  the  prevention  of  crimes,  have 
been  sadly  disappointed.  Indeed  the  whole  Penitentiary 
system,  however,  mortifying  the  assertion  may  be  to  those 
who  have  been  its  warmest  advocates,  has,  in  very  i'exv 
instances,  answered  the  benevolent  purposes,  for  which 
it  was  instituted.  The  principal  causes,  which  have  here- 
tofore  prevented  this  plan  from  being  productive  of  the 
desired  effects  are  well  expressed  in  u  The  Report  on  the 
Penitentiary  system  in  the  United  States,  prepared  under 
a  resolution  of  the  Society  for  the  prevention  of  pauper- 
ism, in  the  City  of  New- York,  and  publi  hed  in  the  year 
1822."  This  was-  drawn  up  by  Charles  G.  Haines,  Esq. 
and  has  been  widely  circulated  in  Europe  as  well  as  in 
this  country.  It  is  a  luminous  exposition  of  the  errours 
and  defects  of  the  interesting  subject,  on  which  it  treats, 
and  contains  the  opinions  of  many  of  our  most  intelligent 
citizens.  I  have  availed  myself  of  many  of  the  sentiments 
therein  contained  and  would  have  freely  quoted  what  I  have 
taken  from  it ;  but  the  narrow  limits,  to  which  I  am  un- 
der the  necessity  of  restricting  this  publication,  compels 
me  greatly  to  abbreviate  my  extracts.  I  must,  therefore, 
content  myself  with  this  general  acknowledgment,  and 


with  advising  such  of  my  readers  as  may  have  leisure  to 
give  the  said  report  a  fair  and  candid  perusal,  being  well 
persuaded,  that  they  will  thereby  find  themselves  highly 

But  to  return  to  my  digression.  According  to  our  pre- 
sent badly  arranged  system  of  prison  discipline,  no  soon- 
er have  the  convicts  finished  their  daily  tasks  than  they 
are  permitted  to  have  their  hours  of  recreation,  indulged 
in  talking  over  their  exploits  in  the  paths  of  guilt,  suffered 
to  form  new  schemes  for  future  execution,  and  to  wear 
away  their  term  of  service,  under  circumstances  calcula- 
ted to  deprive  it  of  every  salutary  effect.  This  state  o£ 
things  is  rather  appalling,  but  if  we  examine  the  "  report 
on  the  Penitentiary  system  in  Pennsylvania,  dated  27th 
January,  1821,"  we  shall  find  that  it  is  not  less  gloom}-. 
"  It  seems,"  says  the  report,  "  to  be  generally  admitted, 
that  the  mode  at  present,  in  the  Penitentiary,  does  not  re- 
form the  prisoner.  It  was  intended  to  be  a  school  of  re- 
formation ;  but  it  is  now  a  school  of  vice.  It  cannot  be 
otherwise,  when  so  many  depraved  persons  are  gathered 
together  without  the  means  of  classification.  There  were 
in  confinement  on  the  1st  instant,  494  men  and  49  wo- 
men, convicts.  A  community  of  interest  and  design  is 
excited  amongst  them,  and  instead  of  reformation,  ruin  is 
the  result." 

Hence  it  appears,  that  a  sentence  to  a  criminal  prison 
is  not  viewed  with  that  terrour,  which  tends  to  prevent 
crimes,  the  allurements  and  pleasure  of  social  intercourse, 
are  kept  up ;  and  the  ignominy  of  punishment  is  forgotten. 
There  is  reason  to  fear,  that  with  many  criminals,  the 
State-Prison  and  the  Penitentiary  are  viewed  like  the 
transportation  to  New-Holland,  by  felons  in  Great-Bri- 
tain, as  a  welcome  asylum. 

Shall  the  Penitentiary  system,  then,  from  which  so 
great  benefit  was  anticipated,  be  abandoned  ?  May  God 
forbid!  We  contend,  that  it  is  a  practical  system, 
that  it  has  not,  as  yet,  had  a  fair  trial,  that  its  present  de- 
fects can  be  remedied,  and  that  it  can  be  rendered  more 
effectual  than  any  other  mode  of  punishment,  which  now 
is,  or  ever  has  been  in  existence.  Nor  do  we  admit  that 
failure,  which  some  have  been  pleased  to  assign,  although 


it  must  be  granted,  that  it  has  disappointed  the  hopes  of 
its  early  friends. 

The  following  circumstances  ought,  likewise,  to  en- 
courage us  to  perseverance.  If  we  may  judge  of  the  ope- 
ration of  penal  codes,  in  other  countries,  where  they  are 
severe  and  bloody,  we  shall  find  nothing  to  induce  us  to 
the  renunciation  of  our  present  laws.  Of  the  truth  of  the 
preceding  observation,  let  the  following  serve  as  an  illus- 
tration. Sir  William  Blackstone,  after  speaking  against 
the  too  frequent  infliction  of  capital  punishments,  asks  if 
they  have  been  found  more  salutary  than  those  of  a 
milder  character.  "  Was  the  vast  territory  of  Russia,"' 
says  he,  "  worse  regulated  under  the  late  Empress  Eliza- 
beth than  under  her  more  sanguinary  predecessors  ?  Is 
it  now  under  Catharine  II.  less  civilized,  less  social,  less 
secure  ?  And  yet  we  are  assured,  that  neither  of  these  il- 
lustrious princesses  have,  throughout  their  whole  admin- 
istration, inflicted  the  penalty  of  death.  -  And  the  latter 
has,  upon  full  persuasion  of  its  being  useless,  nay  even 
pernicious,  given  orders  for  abolishing  it  entirely  through- 
out her  extensive  dominions." 

We  well  know,  that  atrocious  crimes  were  less  frequent 
in  France,  under  the  reign  of  Napoleon,  than  under  any 
one  of  the  Bourbons  for  half  a  century  before  him.  And 
yet  he  greatly  moderated  the  penal  code,  and  assumed  the 
sceptre  of  power,  after  the  revolution  had  poured  its  over- 
whelming torrents  of  licentiousness  over  the  kingdom.  It 
may,  likewise,  be  observed,  that  though  the  late  monarch 
Louis  XVII i.  must  have  been  naturally  opposed  to  every 
innovation  on  the  ancient  regimen  by  him,  whom  he 
deemed  an  usurper,  the  good  sense  of  the  French  people 
was  so  strongly  opposed  to  the  practice  of  inhuman  pun- 
ishments, that  he  durst  not  re-enact  the  barbarous  statutes 
of  his  ancestors.  Hence  the  lenient  code  of  Napoleon  still 
continues  to  be  the  law  of  the  land,  and  is  found  by  expe- 
rience to  be  much  better  calculated  to  secure  the  lives,  the 
liberty,  and  the  property  of  the  subjects  than  any  sys- 
tem, which  preceded  it. 

But  in  order  that  we  may  have  a  more  comprehensive 
view  of  the  dreadful  consequences,  which  result  from  san- 
guinary punishments,  it  is  only  necessary  that  we  should 


direct  our  attention  to  the  summary  practice  of  the  crimi- 
nal courts  in  Great-Britain,  a  nation,  with  which  we  are 
better  acquainted  than  with  any  other.  W  hile  she  justly 
boasts  of  a  system  of  jurisprudence  in  civil  transactions, 
which  applies  to  all  the  exigencies  of  civilized  society, 
which  guards  all  the  rights  incident  to  a  a  state  of  public 
and  private  security,  and  is  founded  on  the  broad  basis  of 
utility,  her  criminal  code  presents  us  with  a  melancholy 
spectacle  of  cruelty,  errour  and  neglect.  It  is  not  only 
inadequate  to  the  ends,  which  it  was  designed  to  accom- 
plish ;  but  is  productive  of  the  very  evils,  which  it  would 
remedy.  It  even,  at  this  late  day,  retains  a  system  of 
laws,  which  awards  death  for  up  wards  of  200  offences,  and 
draws  no  distinction  between  the  most  atrocious  murders 
and  the  stealing  of  a  guinea.  If,  as  it  is  asserted  by  some, 
the  infliction  of  death  be  so  well  calculated  to  deter  men 
from  the  commission  of  crimes,  why  do  they  wholly  fail 
to  effect  this  result  in  that  country  ?  There,  criminals  are 
never  pardoned  for  forgery  ;  but  does  not  forgery  still  go 
on  ?  Since  the  execution  of  the  unfortunate  Dr.  Dodd, 
many  hundreds  have  expiated  for  that  offence  by  the 
halter,  and  is  not  its  commission  equally  prevalent  at  the 
present  day,  as  it  was  50  years  ago  ?  Felons  are  contin- 
ually executed  for  stealing,  and  still  thefts  increase.  They 
are  committed  under  the  very  gibbets  where  thieves  are 
hung.  Is  this  preventing  felony,  by  the  taking  away  of 
life  ? 

Mr.  Buxton,  in  a  late  speech,  in  the  House  of  Com-* 
mons,  states  expressly,  that  in  the  face  of  more  than  200 
capital  punishments,  crimes,  which  fall  under  them,  con- 
tinue to  multiply.  The  criminal  code  in  France  is,  by 
no  means,  so  severe  as  that  of  England,  and  yet  with 
more  than  double  the  population  of  Great  Britain,  the 
number  of  her  criminals  is  less. 

With  these  facts  so  fully  staring  us  in  the  face,  it  is  tru- 
ly surprising,  that  a  disposition  should  be  sometimes  in- 
dicated in  this  country  to  adopt  capital  punishments,  to  a 
wide  extent.  Because  the  Penitentiary  system  has  been 
grossly  perverted  and  its  principles  lost  sight  of;  because 
an  experiment  has  failed  before  it  has  been  adequately 
tried,  there  are  occasional  bursts  of  discontent,  and  capital 
punishments  are  urged  as  the  only  means  of  preventing 


dimes.  And  yet  experience  has  sufficiently  taught  us, 
that  cruel  punishments  harden  the  public  mind,  and  that 
in  whatever  country,  the  laws  are  most  severe,  there  they 
are  the  most  impotent.  But  it  is  absolute  folly  to  think 
of  re-establishing  capital  punishments  in  the  United  States, 
on  that  of  crimes,  on  which  they  were  formerly  inflicted. 
By  supposing  such  a  thing  possible,  we  do  violence  to  the 
moral  feelings  of  the  people  of  this  coutry.  We  go  far- 
ther. We  disregard  the  solemn  lessons  of  an  experience, 
which  is  drawn  from  the  history  of  successive  ages ;  for 
we  would  ask,  in  what  period  of  national  history  have 
capital  punishments  suppressed  the  crimes,  which  they 
were  designed  to  prevent  ?  Are  we  not  rather  compelled 
to  believe,  that  they  have  promoted  the  evils  they  were 
intended  to  destroy. 

Nor  can  it  ever  happen  in  those  states,  where  the  public 
whipping,  branding,  and  lacerating  of  the  bodies  of  minor 
offenders  have  been  abolished,  that  the  feelings  of  our 
citizens  will  be  agonized  by  seeing  them  replaced.  Who 
can  think  of  the  barbarities  witnessed  at  a  whipping  post 
without  horrour  ?  What  has  any  person  to  look  for  in  this 
world,  when  his  features  are  so  deformed  a?  to  attract  the 
scorn  of  the  public  ?  Or  what  has  the  culprit  to  antici- 
pate, who  has  received  the  stripes  of  a  constable  amidst  a 
crowd  of  spectators  ?  There  is,  at  least,  this  advantage  in 
our  Penitentiaries  and  State-Prisons,  that  if  they  be  not 
schools  of  reform,  they,  for  a  time,  secure  the  public 
against  the  depredation  of  those  confined  within  their 
walls  ;  but  it  was  not  so,  when  the  space  of  15  minutes 
finished  their  punishment,  after  which  they  were,  at  once, 
turned  loose  upon  the  world,  degraded  and  desperate,  and 
for  want  of  other  support,  compelled  immediately  to  re- 
new their  depredations  or  to  starve.  But  besides  the  evils, 
which  the  offender  suffers  from  the  laceration  of  his  body, 
there  is  another  which  accrues  to  those,  who  witness  such 
atrocities.  The  frequent  infliction  of  cruel  punishments 
inures  the  public  mind  to  barbarity,  and  destroys  the  ad- 
vantages intended  to  be  reaped  from  the  terrour  of  exam- 
ple. People  can  become  habituated  to  spectacles  of  hor- 
rour, and  feel  no  pangs  at  beholding  them.  The  Romans 
beheld  the  blood  of  their  gladiators  without  the  move- 


raent  of  a  nerve  or  a  muscle;  and,  in  Great-Britain,  at 
this  day,  the  execution  of  half  a  score  of  felons  calls  forth 
no  expression  of  horrour  from  the  populace.  In  time, 
we  should  betray  the  same  indifference.  In  confirma- 
tion of  this,  there  are  many  inhabitants  of  this  city,  who 
have  witnessed  the  disgusting  spectacle  of  crowds  of  boys 
flocking  to  a  whipping  post,  to  enjoy  in  revelry  and 
mirth  the  torture  of  their  fellow  beings. 

But  upon  this  subject,  it  cannot  be  necessary  that  T 
should  enlarge.  The  erection  of  the  gallows  will  be  very 
seldom  witnessed  amongst  us  ;  and  the  use  of  the  pillory, 
whipping  post,  branding  iron,  and  cropping  knife  is,  as 
I  firmly  believe,  for  ever  discarded.  Here  the  age  of  bar- 
barity ha-  fled  never  more  to  return,  and  that  of  benevo- 
lence and  philanthropy  has  taken  its  place.  The  Peni- 
tentiary system  has  not,  as  yet,  answered  the,  purpose  in- 
tended by  its  humane  projectors  :  but  we  are  fully  per- 
suaded, that  it  can  be  amended.  The  American  people 
have,  by  God's  blessing,  been  endowed  with  sufficient 
wisdom  to  devise  a  form  of  government  for  themselves, 
which,  while  it  ensures  to  its  citizens  as  much  liberty  as 
is  compatible  with  human  happiness,  possesses  far  more 
strength  and  energy,  than  any  of  those  which  have  been 
(he  longest  established  in  Europe.  And  would  it  not  be 
impious  to  doubt,  that  the  same  people,  influenced  by  the 
same  Almighty  power,  and  possessed  of  that  experience^ 
which  they  now  have3  will  be  able  to  form  a  complete 
Penitentiary  system,  which  shall  not  only  have  an  emi- 
nent tendency  to  reform  convicts,  but  also  to  prevent  the 
commission  of  crimes  ?  What  measures  it  will  be  neces- 
sary to  adopt  towards  the  accomplishment  of  this  de- 
sirable object,  shall  be  the  subject  of  consideration  in 
another  chapter. 



Of  the  effects  of  the  Tread-Mill,  as  it  respects  the 
health  of  the  Convicts. 

Before  I  enter  upon  the  discussion  of  this  topic, 
it  may  not  be  improper  to  mention  some  advan- 
tages, which  obviously  result  from  the  establishment 
of  this  mode  of  punishment.  Since  its  introduction  into 
this  city,  the  number  of  vagrants,  as  well  as  of  sturdy  beg- 
gars, who,  like  birds  of  passage,  flock  to  our  metropolis, 
during  winter,  from  the  neighbouring  states  and  counties, 
to  feed'  upon  the  well  meant,  but  misapplied  charity  ol 
the  inhabitants,  is  certainly  greatly  diminished.  For  this, 
we  are  much  indebted  to  our  police  magistrates,  whose 
vigilance  and  activity,  are  such,  that  it  is  scarcely  possi- 
ble, for  persons  of  this  description  to  remain  here,  for  any 
length  of  time,  without  being  detected  and  punished. 
Should  it  be  generally  known,  tnat  every  able  bodied  beg- 
gar found  prowling  about  the  city,  would  be  taken  up  by 
the  public  authorities  and  put  to  work,  for  some  time,  on 
the  Tread-Mill,  non-resident  paupers  would  not  dare  to 
visit  us,  and  very  few  of  our  own  would  be  seen  in  the 

But  besides  male  vagrants  and  beggars,  there  is  an- 
other class,  whom  it  is  necessary  to  provide  for.  I  mean 
such  female  prostitutes  and  vagrants  as  are  always  to  be 
found  in  the  Penitentiary  or  Bridewell,  for  whom  little  01 
no  employment  could  formerly  be  found  :  but  we  now 
know  by  experience,  that  the  operation  of  women  on  the 
Tread-Mill  is,  in  proportion  to  their  weight,  equally  useful 
as  that  of  men.  There  is,  then,  this  additional  advantage, 
arising  from  the  erection  of  the  Tread-Mill,  that  this  kind 
of  prisoners  are  made  "  to  earn  their  bread  by  the  sweat 
of  their  brow."  Various  reasons,  however,  occur, 
which  render  it  improper  that  this  should  be  a  permanent 
employment  for  women,  some  of  which  I  shall  mention 
in  the  after  part  of  this  chapter. 
C  2 


I  shall  now  proceed  to  consider  the  effects  of  the 
Tread-Mill  on  the  health  of  the  convicts,  concerning 
which  there  exists  a  diversity  of  opinion,  and  shall  begin, 
with  due  respect  to  the  public,  by  stating  my  own. 

Six  months  have  elapsed  since  I  have  been  station- 
ed as  gate-keeper  of  this  establishment,  in  consequence 
of  which,  as  it  is  part  of  my  duty  to  attend  the  visitors, 
and  to  answer  their  various  queries,  respecting  its  opera- 
tions, effects  upon  the  prisoners,  &c.  I  endeavoured  to 
obtain  all  necessary  information  respecting  it.  My  op- 
portunities of  forming  a  correct  judgment  have  been^ 
therefore,  considerable,  and  after  due  reflection,  I  have 
no  hesitation  in  declaring,  that  the  labour  of  the  Tread- 
Mill  is  neither  intolerably  severe,  nor  in  the  least,  injuri- 
ous to  health.  In  making  an  assertion  so  unqualified,  I 
have  not  been  solely  guided  by  the  result  of  my  -own  ob- 
servations ;  but  by  the  unanimous  opinion  of  the  Com- 
missioners of  the  Aims-House  and  Bridewell,  the  physi- 
cians of  the  establishment  and  of  the  superintendant  as 
well  as  of  several  keepers  of  the  Penitentiary,  who  have 
had  longer  opportunities  of  witnessing  the  manner  in 
which  it  operates  upon  the  health  of  the  prisoners  than  I. 

Supposing  that  a  man  should  work  on  the  Tread-Mill 
ten  hours  in  the  space  of  24,  and  that,  during  that  time, 
he  was,  for  six  hours  engaged  in  labour,  and  the  other 
ipur  at  rest,  (and  that  is  fully  as  great  a  portion  of  fatigue. 
as  I  have  ever  known  to  fall  to  the  lot  of  a  prisoner)  he 
will  then  if  the  circumference  of  the  wheel  be  fifteen  and 
an  half  feet,  and  it  revolve  round  its  axis  three  times  in  a 
minute,  ascend,  or,  as  it  were,  climb  up  the  steps  of  a  stair 
16,740  feet,  a  distance  somewhat  less  than  three  miles  for 
his  daily  labour.  Now,  it  must  be  obvious  to  every  one 
of  the  many  thousands,  who  has  witnessed  this  machine 
in  its  full  operation,  and  who  has  determined  to  think  for 
himself,  that  the  convict  in  the  performance  of  this  duty, 
steps  perfectly  erect,  so  that  his  chest  can  sustain  no  pos- 
sible injury  ;  and  he  may  very  probably  be  induced  to 
believe  with  me,  that  there  are  many  of  our  citizens,  who 
in  earning  their  livelihood,  follow  more  laborious  employ- 
ments, than  that  assigned  to  any  of  our  convicts  in  this  es- 
tablishment.    Of  these  I  shall  instance  a  few  of  the  most 


prominent.  The  man,  who  climbs  up  a  three  or  four 
story  ladder,  with  a  hod  on  his  shoulder,  full  of  brick, 
stone  or  mortar  ;  he  who  is  engaged  in  loading  or  unload- 
ing a  vessel,  the  wood-sawyer,  the  pressman,  on  a  daily 
paper,  where  there  are  a  vast  number  of  subscribers,  or 
the  man,  who  in  harvest,  useth  the  scythe,  will  severally 
feel  as  much  fatigued  after  the  performance  of  his  labour, 
as  the  criminal  who  has  toiled  all  day,  on  the  Tread-Mill. 
But  it  is  not  necessary,  that  I  should  confine  myself  to 
what  has  been  noticed  by  intelligent  persons  on  this  side 
of  the  Atlantic.  The  mode  of  punishment,  which  is  the 
subject  of  these  animadversions  is  better  known  in  Great 
Britain  than  with  us,  and  it  is  certainly  enforced  with 
more  vigour  in  that  country  than  here.  The  following 
extract  from  the  report  of  the  Committee  of  the  (British) 
Society  for  the  improvement  of  prison  discipline,  and  for 
the  reformation  of  Juvenile  offenders,  published  in  1823, 
page  33,  will  shew  the  opinion  of  a  very  respectable  body 
of  men,  whose  zeal  in  their  endeavours  to  promote  the 
cause  of  humanity  may  be  equalled,  but  cannot  be  sur- 
passed. "  The  merits  of  the  Tread-Wheel,"  say  they, 
"  as  an  instrument  of  prison-labour,  have,  during  the  past 
year,  excited  considerable  interest.  Objections  of  a  very 
serious  nature  have  been  urged  against  it  by  a  magistrate, 
whose  labours  for  the  improvement  of  prison  discipline, 
during  a  long  and  honourable  life,  entitle  him  to  great  at- 
tention. Highly  as  the  committee  appreciate  the  motives 
which  animate  the  benevolent  author,  they  do  not  concur 
with  the  reasoning  contained  in  a  recent  work  on  prison- 
labour  ;*  the  object  of  which  is  to  shew,  that  the  ordina- 
ry discipline  of  the  Tread-Wheel  is  an  unsafe,  unhealthy, 
and  degrading  punishment.  The  committe  believe,  that 
they  were  the  first  to  recognize  the  excellence,  and  advo- 
cate the  introduction  of  this  description  of  prison-labour  : 
and  after  mature  consideration,  they  can  discover  nothing 
in  the  proper  use  and  moderate  application  of  this  pun- 
ishment, that  is  irreconcilable  with  the  feelings  of  human- 
ity, and  these  principles  of  prison-discipline,  which  it  is 
the  object  of  this  society  to  recommend."     "  From  docu- 

■  "  Correspondence  on  Prison-Labour,"  by  Sir  John  Cox  Hip. 
pesley,  Bart. 


ments  which  have  been  laid  before  Parliament,  the  healthi- 
ness of  the  Tread-Wheel  exercise  is  satisfactorily  proved. 
The  opinions  of  the  medical  officers  in  attendance  at  the 
various  prisons,  concur  in  declaring,  that  the  general 
health  of  the  prisoners  has,  in  no  degree  suffered  injury 
by  the  exercise;  but  that,  on  the  contrary,  the  labour  has 
in  this  respect,  been  productive  of  considerable  benefit. 
Recent  enquiries,  which  the  committee  have  instituted, 
confirm  these  testimonies;  and  against  evidence  so  con- 
clusive, a  judgment  formed  principally  from  abstract  rea- 
soning, and  unsupported  by  that  peculiar  experience, 
which  the  daily  observations  of  a  prison-surgeon  affords, 
can  have  but  little  weight." 

With  respect  to  the  severity  of  the  Tread-Mill,  I  have 
thus,  after  due  consideration,  expressed  my  opinion  with- 
out reserve  or  disguise,  being  influenced  by  no  considera- 
tion, except  a  sacred  regard  to  truth,  and  am  morally 
certain,  that  every  one,  who  has  without  prejudice  fully 
examined  it,  when  in  operation,  will  coincide  with  me 
in  opinion.  I  am  w<  11  aware,  that  we  have  had  many 
visiters,  who,  the  moment  they  beheld  the  convicts  at 
work,  without  giving  themselves  leisure  for  the  least  re- 
jection, have  pronounced  it  to  be  a  dreadful  contrivance 
of  cruelty  and  oppression,  and  one  which  ought  not 
to  exist  in  a  christian  country.  But  these  well-meaning 
people  never  think  that  although  the  Christian  Religion 
lar  surpasses  all  other  systems,  in  point  of  benevolence  ; 
nay,  though  it  may  be  pronounced  to  be  benevolence  it- 
self, it  expressly  asserts,  that  the  way  of  transgressors 
is  hard,  and  enjoins  it  as  a  duty  on  magistrates  to  be  a 
terror  to  evil  doers. 

Stories,  concerning  the  dreadful  consequences  resulting 
from  the  punishment  of  the  Tread-Mill  have  been  propa- 
gated with  a. zeal  for  which  it  is  not  easy  to  account,  and 
many  of  them,  though  highly  incredible,  have  been  eager- 
ly swallowed.  Were  I  to  take  notice  of  one  half  of  the 
distressing  tales  which  have  come  to  my  ears  respecting 
it,  since  it  was  known  amongst  my  friends,  that  I  was  en- 
gaged in  writing  this  pamphlet,  I  would  have  had  much 
to  do,  and  would  have  been  employed  to  very  little  pur- 
pose ;  as  there  are  too  many,  who  are  so  wise  in  their 


own  opinion,  as  to  think  it  degrading  to  retract  an  errour, 
although  they  should  be  fully  satisfied,  that  it  was  found- 
ed on  the  most  palpable  absurdity.  For  the  sake  of  those 
however,  who  are  in  quest  of  truth,  I  shall  endeavour  to 
obviate  a  few  of  the  most  prominent  of  those  falsehoods. 

It  has  been  stated,  that  it  is  very  common  for  convicts 
to  drop  down  dead,  while  at  work.  Now,  I  well  know, 
that  no  event  of  that  kind  has  happened  since  I  had  my 
residence  at  Bellevue,  and  I  have  it  from  those  who  su- 
perintended the  labour  of  the  prisoners  from  the  very  day 
that  the  mill  commenced  till  that  period,  that  only  one 
case  of  the  kind  had  ever  occurred,  and  I  am  satisfied, 
that  hard  labour  on  the  Tread-Mill,  had  not  the  least 
agency  in  effecting  the  death  of  the  man  to  whom  I  al- 
lude. He  was  a  stout,  athletic  Mulatto,  in  the  prime  of 
life,  and  apparently  in  perfect  health,  on  the  day  that  he 
died,  which  happened  to  be  the  very  first  of  his  appear- 
ance on  the  wheel.  He  had  performed  one  turn  of  duty, 
which  was  finished  in  six  minutes,  when  he  sat  down. 
He  then  said,  that  he  was  unwell,  according  to  his  request 
had  a  drink  of  water,  and  rested  as  iong  as  he  thought 
proper.  He,  at  last,  after  having  sat  about  an  hour  and 
an  half,  mounted  the  wheel  of  his  own  accord  and  drop- 
ped down  almost  immediately  thereafter.  Medical  aid 
was  called ;  but  to  no  purpose,  as  he  was  dead  of  an  apo- 
plectic Jit.  This  is  a  plain  case  and  requires  no  com- 
ment. Every  one,  who  has  seen  apoplexy,  knows  that 
it  generally  takes  place  without  any  previous  warning, 
and  often  closes  the  scene  almost  immediately  after  the 

It  has  been  said,  that  working  on  the  Tread-Mill  has 
been  very  injurious  to  women  in  a  state  of  Pregnancy. 
To  this  I  answer,  that  few  of  those  females,  who  are  sub- 
jects of  prison  discipline  are  likely  to  be  in  that  state,  and 
I  am  confident  that  if  any  one  were  to  declare  herself  to 
be  so,  her  services  at  the  mill  would  be  dispensed  with, 
till  due  inquiry  could  be  made  into  the  truth  of  her  asser- 
tion, and  when  she  would  undoubtedly  be  put  to  other  em- 
ployment more  suitable  to  her  situation.  But  here  1  deem 
it  necessary  to  make  a  short  digression. 

Jt  may  be  observed,  that  though  little  delicacy  is  to  be 


looked  for  amongst  females,  who  reside  within  the  wall? 
of  a  penitentiary,  yet  it  i  •  wel;  known,  that  the  sex  is  lia- 
ble to  various  diseases  and  complaints,  which  even  the 
most  abandoned  would  not  choose  to  communicate  to  a 
man.  Whatever  male  officers  may  be,  therefore  found 
necessary  in  such  an  establishment,  there  ought  always  to 
be  a  careful,  discreet  and  humane  matron,  under  whose 
direction,  (subject,  however,  to  the  controul  of  the  super- 
intendant,)  the  female  prisoners  ought  more  immediately 
to  be  placed.  The  person  to  be  selected  for  this  impor- 
tant employment,  should  be  posse-sed  of  a  conciliatory 
disposition,  have  a  considerable  knowledge  of  human  na- 
ture, and  a  capacity  to  discern  the  leading  passions  of  in- 
dividuals and  all  their  weak  points.  It  should  be  her  du- 
ty, by  every  means  in  her  power,  to  gain  the  confidence 
and  affection  of  the  unfortunate  beings  committed  to  her 
care,  and  to  impress  upon  their  minds  not  only  a  sense 
of  guilt,  but  a  love  of  virtue,  and  to  imphnt  those  princu 
pies  and  cherish  those  feelings,  which  a  love  of  virtue  on- 
ly can  inspire.  Her  admonitions  might,  at  first,  meet 
with  little  attention  ;  but  by  due  perseverance,  they  would, 
in  all  probability,  at  last,  leave  a  deep  impression  on  the 
minds  of  those,  to  whom  they  are  addressed  ;  and,  by 
God's  blessing,  be  the  means  of  reclaiming  several  from 
the  errour  of  their  ways  by  induring  them  to  seek  happi- 
ness in  that  way,  where  it  is  only  to  be  found,  viz.  in  re- 
ligion ;  for  "  wisdom's,  i.  e.  religious  ways  are  ways  of 
pleasantness  and  all  her  paths  are  peace."  Prov.  iii.  If. 
Should  so  happy  a  change  be  effected  on  any  of  our  fe- 
male convicts,  the  main  end  of  their  punishment  would 
be  completely  accomplished  ;  any  further  severity  would 
become  unnecessary,  ami  instead  of  being  as  they  were 
formerly,  pests  of  society,  they  would,  upon  their  dis- 
charge, become  not  only  useful  to  themselves,  but  like- 
wise, to  the  foramunity.  It  may  be  said,  that  the  expec- 
tation of  such  a  transition  from  death  to  life,  is  visiona- 
ry; but  the  zeal,  industry  and  perseverance  of  a  philan- 
thropist have  produced  much  good  in  London.  Why 
should  similar  efforts  be  less  beneficial  in  this  city  ?  Hu- 
man nature,  even  in  its  worst  state,  can,  by  the  use  of 
proper  means,  be  wrought  upon  with  success.     The  his- 


tory  of  Mrs.  Freights  exertions  in  Newgate  affords  a  most 
gratifying  comment  on  those  remarks.  She  has  entered 
the  prison  walls  like  a  ministering  angel  of  truth,  mercy 
and  peace;  and  guilt,  in  the  most  awful  and  repulsive 
form,  has  relinquished  a  dominion  over  its  victims. 

1  would  farther  observe,  that  though  it  may  be  proper 
to  send  such  idle  and  disorderly  females  as  are  hardened 
offenders,  to  the  Tread-Mill,  their  general  and  constant 
employment,  in  this  manner,  is,  in  the  opinion  of  many 
benevolent  persons,  liable  to  serious  objections,  and  as 
many  other  kinds  of  useful  labour  can  be  easily  devised 
for  women  in  a  prison,  which  are  congenial  to  the  habits 
of  their  sex,  the  practice  of  thus  employing  them  is  not 
justified  by  necessity.  It  is  true,  as  has  been  observed  by 
many,  that  women,  whilst  engaged  in  this  kind  of  work, 
appear  more  cheerful  than  men  ;  but  ths  may  be  owing 
to  thoughtlessness,  or  perhaps  to  a  silly  desire  to  shew  to 
their  overseers  and  others,  that  they  set  at  nought  the 
punishment  inflicted  upon  them  ;  but  in  point  of  strength, 
or  a  capability  of  bearing  laborious  exertions,  they  are 
certainly  far  inferior  to  those  of  the  other  sex.  It  ought 
not,  therefore,  to  be  expected,  that  they  hould  bear  an 
equal  burden.  It  may,  perhaps,  be  proper,  that  some  of 
the  greatest  criminals  or  of  those,  who  are  the  most  re- 
fractory should  be  subjected  to  this  punishment  for  a  short 
time,  but  it  is  inconsistent  with  the  views  of  the  best  wri- 
ters on  the  Penitentiary  system,  that  they  should  remain 
under  this  kind  of  discipline,  for  a  long  period. 

But  to  return  to  my  subject,  I  had  often  been  informed; 
previous  to  my  having  any  charge  at  the  Tread-Mill, 
that  it  had  occasioned  ruptures  on  several  criminals,  who 
had  wrought  on  it.  After  having  carefully  examined  its 
operation,  I  perceived,  that  it  neither  twisted,  wreathed, 
or  distorted  any  part  of  the  body,  and  that  it  required  no 
other  exercise  than  to  ascend,  as  it  were,  the  steps  of  a 
stair.  I  could  not,  therefore,  imagine,  how  such  labour 
could  possibly  be  the  cause  of  so  painful  a  disease.  A 
number  of  respectable  physicians  came  to  visit  the  estab- 
lishment at  different  times,  and  as  one  of  the  keepers  as 
well  as  myself  were  desirous  of  obtaining  correct  informa- 
tion on  the  subject,  we  asked  these  gentlemen  their  opin- 


ions  severally ;  but  have  as  yet  found  no  one,  who  suppo- 
sed that  the  Tread-Mill  occasioned  the  rupture. 

It  may  easily  be  supposed,  that  amongst  such  charac- 
ters as  those  who  are  set  to  work  on  the  Tread-Mill,  an 
aversion  to  labour  is  one  of  the  principal  causes,  which 
has  brought  many  of  them  to  their  present  situation,  and 
that  their  having  become  tenants  of  the  Penitentiary  is 
not  very  likely  to  cure  them  instantaneously  of  that  dis- 
like. Hence  with  a  view  to  evade  the  work  allotted  to 
them,  it  is  a  common  practice  with  many  to  pretend  sick- 
ness where  none  exists.  In  a  case  of  this  kind,  if  the 
keeper  believe  that  the  assertion  is  true,  he  will  allow 
the  prisoner  to  rest  till  one  of  the  physicians  can  be  con- 
sulted, who,  after  due  examination,  will  direct  him  to  be 
sent  to  the  hospital,  or  otherwise  di  posed  of,  as  to  him 
shall  appear  proper  :  but  his  decision  must  be  final  and 
conclusive.  And  here  it  may  be  observed,  that  if  every 
prisoner,  who  feels  a  reluctance  to  work,  merely  because 
he  is  lazy  and  does  not  like  it,  should  be  gratified  in  his 
wishes,  the  sentence  of  condemnation  to  hard  labour  for 
a  certain  period  would  be  nugatory,  and  very  little  work 
would  be  done  on  the  Tread-Mill  or  in  any  other  depart- 
ment of  the  Penitentiary.  But  when  a  convict  is  senten- 
ced to  hard  labour,  the  spirit  and  letter  of  the  law  should 
be  well  observed.  He  should  be  put  to  work  and  kejt  to 
work  in  the  true  sense  and  meaning  of  the  words  hard  la- 
bour ;  nor  should  any  relaxation  of  the  law  be  allowed. 
Idleness  must  be  guarded  against  with  the  strictest  scru- 
tiny ;  nor  should  convicts  be  allowed  to  pass  through  any 
portion  of  their  time  in  indolence,  when  it  was  intended 
by  Legislatures  and  courts  of  justice,  as  well  as  expected 
by  the  prisoners  themselves,  that  constant  and  rigid  in- 
dustry should  be  their  daily  lot.  It  should  be  borne  in 
mind,  that  hard  labour  is  intended  by  our  penal  statutes 
as  a  part  of  their  punishment,  and  that  an  exemption 
from  this,  in  any  degree,  impairs  the  effect  of  that  pun- 

But  in  our  Penitentiary,  there  is  no  danger  of  exces- 
sive severity  being  exercised  towards  the  prisoners.  Mr. 
Hoghland  who  has  been  the  superintendent  for  upwards 
ef  seven  years,  is  a  gentleman  no  less  conspicuous  for  bis 


firmness  and  decision  than  for  his  humanity,  and  the 
commissioners  of  the  Aims-House,  whose  names  I  have 
mentioned  in  a  note,  page  15,  to  whose  care  and  man- 
agement t'  e  Penitentiary  system  is  committed,  are  so  well 
known  to  the  public,  that  if  any  error  be  committed  by 
them  in  the  discharge  of  their  duty,  it  will  more  probably 
be  on  the  side  of  mercy  than  of  inhumanity.  On  the 
whole,  the  work,  which  is,  in,  imposed  upon  con- 
victs, may  be  rather  cons  dered  as  a  healthy  recreation 
than  as  a  dreadful  punishment,  and  even  the  Tread-Milk, 
with  all  its  horrors,  if  I  except  the  chains  worn  by  many 
of  the  males,  is  not,  in  my  opinion,  harder  work,  than  we 
see  daily  performed  by  numbers  of  our  honest  labourers, 
both  in  town  and  country. 

It  is  believed,  that  from  the  preceding  observations, 
every  unprejudiced  person  must  be  satisfied,  that  there  is 
nothing  in  the  labour  of  the  Tread-Mill,  that  is  injurious 
to  health.  Still,  however,  it  is  far  from  being  an  agreea- 
ble employment  ;  nor,  indeed,  can  a  prisoner,  whatever 
task  may  be  assigned  to  him,  be  said  to  find  any  thing 
agreeable,  so  long  as  he  shall  remain  within  the  walls  of 
the  Penitentiary.  The  culprit  enters  on  a  state  of  punish- 
ment, the  very  moment  that  he  receives  his  sentence. 
From  the  bar,  he  is  dragged  to  the  Penitentiary  in  chains. 
No  sooner  does  he  arrive  there,  than  however  fine  his 
clothes  may  have  been,  he  is  obliged  to  assume  the  home- 
ly uniform  of  the  criminal  regiment,  although  he  be  allow- 
ed a  sufficiency  of  provisions  to  satisfy  the  calls  of  na- 
ture, from  the  moment  that  he  takes  up  his  abode  in  pri- 
son, he  may  say  to  every  kind  of  luxury  and  dainty 
farewell  He  is  lodged  all  night,  with  some  of  the  most 
abandoned  wretches,  and  debarred  from  the  society  of  his 
acquaintances,  his  friends,  and  even  his  nearest  relations. 
-Day  succeeds  day,  and  brings  variety  to  many  ;  but  no- 
thing to  him,  except  one  continued  scene  of  melancholy, 
despondency  and  gloom. 

Afthough  the  preceding  observations  apply  in  general, 
fo  those  who  are  employed  in  any  kind  of  labour,  within 
the  limits  of  the  Penitentiary,  they  have  a  more  immedi- 
ate reference  to  those,  who  work  on  the  Tread-Mill.  This 
as  a  punishment,  has  nothing  connected  with  it  fhat  can 
D        ' 


be  deemed  excessively  severe ;  still  however  it  is  attend* 
ed  with  a  species  of  fatigue,  which  strikes  the  mind  of  the 
convicts  with  more  terrour,  than  any  other  labour  which  it 
has  been  heretofore  practicable  to  assign  to  them.  Hence 
when  any  of  those,  who  are  engaged  at  work,  on  the  pub- 
lic roads,  in  the  pin  factory,  or  otherwise,  become  unwil- 
ling to  perform  their  duty,  or  refractory  to  their  keepers, 
a  threat,  that  they  will  be  sent  to  the  Tread-Mill  seldom 
fails  to  bring  them  to  a  sense  of  their  duty,  and  to  reduce 
them  to  immediate  subjection. 


Of  measures  necessary  to  be  adopted  for  the  improve' 
ment  of  the  Penitentiary  System. 

Mr.  Eddy,  in  his  communication  to  the  Mayor  of  date 
8th  of  10th  Month,  (October.)  1823,  which  I  have  men- 
tioned in  the  preface,  confines  his  ideas  respecting  the 
improvement  of  our  present  system  of  punishment,  to 
the  three  following  objects  : — 

1.  The  almost  total  prohibition  of  persons  to  see  the 
prisoners  at  work. 

2.  The  erection  of  a  sufficient  number  of  cells,  of  the 
dimensions  of  nine  feet  long,  by  seven  feet  wide  ;  for  the 
solitary  confinement  of  convicts,  during  the  night,  and 
when  not  employed  at  work. 

3.  The  necessity  of  instructing  prisoners  in  the  princi- 
ples of  the  Christian  Religion.  Of  each  of  these,  I  shall 
treat  in  order. 

1.  As  to  the  first,  it  appears  highly  important,  to  pre- 
vent the  convicts  on  the  Tread-Mill  from  being  a  con- 
stant gazing  stock.  Their  being  exposed  to  idle  curiosi- 
ty can  only  tend  to  divest  them  of  all  shame,  render 
them  more  hardened  and  desperate,  and  make  them  callous 
to  the  appeals  of  repentance  and  remorse.  When  a  man 
has  been  in  this  place  of  punishment,  and  is  sensible 
that  hundreds  have  seen  him  treading  on  the  wheel,    he 


*  ill  be  more  inclined  to  renounce  the  hope  of  all  future 
usefulness  and  respectability  :  and  if  it  be  so  with  men, 
it  must  evidently  be  still  more  so  with  women.  To  one 
of  these,  it  would  naturally  occur,  that  it  would  be  in  vain 
for  her  to  look  for  decent  employment ;  as  it  was  highly 
probable  that  the  person,  to  whom  she  might  apply  for 
service,  might  have  seen  her  on  the  Tread-Mill.  On 
her  discharge,  therefore,  she  has  no  alternative  but  to 
seek,  a  shelter  in  some  of  her  former  haunts  of  prostitu- 
tion and  debauchery.  The  crowds  of  people,  many  of 
whom  were  idle  and  disorderly,  who  wasted  their  time 
in  visiting  this  place,  were  almost  incredible.  During 
the  holidays,  in  the  last  Easter  and  Whitsun-weeks,  they 
daily  exceeded  1000  ;  and  at  other  times,  when  the 
weather  was  favourable,  there  is  no  exaggeration  in  stat- 
ing that  they  daily  averaged  500.  Amongst  the  many 
visitors,  there  were  some,  who,  for  months,  were  there 
almost  daily,  unquestionably  for  no  good  purpose,  and 
who  from  their  appearance  seemed  fully  as  deserving  of 
a  place  on  the  Tread-Mill  as  any  of  those,  who  were  on 
it.  But  besides  the  evils,  which  I  have  mentioned,  this 
indiscriminate  admission  of  visitors,  was  productive  of 
others.  It  stopped  that  free  circulation  of  air,  which 
was  so  essentially  necessary  to  the  comfort  of  the  prison- 
ers, and  created  constant  confusion.  With  a  view  to 
remedy  those  evils,  the  commissioners  deemed  it  their 
duty  to  represent  them  to  the  Common  Council,  who  on 
the  30th  day  of  August  last  resolved, that  in  future,  no  one 
should  be  allowed  to  visit  the  Tread-Mill,  without  a  per- 
mit from  the  Mayor,  or  Recorder,  from  one  of  the  Al- 
dermen or  Assistants,  or  from  one  of  the  five  Commis- 
sioners of  the  Aims-House.  This  restriction,  it  is  be- 
lieved, will  fully  answer  the  purpose  for  which  it  was 
intended,  as  the  number  of  visitors  is  thereby  reduced  to 
about  one  twentieth  part  of  what  it  was  formerly. 

2.  As  to  having  a  separate  cell  for  each  convict,  every 
principle  of  policy  and  humanity  points  out  its  propriety. 
The  want  of  this  precaution  has  been  the  bane  of  our 
whole  Penitentiary  System,  and  filled  the  public  mind 
with  doubts  and  prejudices.  To  permit  a  dozen  or  up- 
wards of  convicts  to  sleep  in  the  same  room ;  to  converse 


freely  together,  to  communicate  to  each  other  vicioo.i 
principles  and  desperate  designs,  must  prove  the  source 
of  lasting  evil.  To  place  the  hardened  villian,  the  old 
experienced  offender,  in  the  same  sleeping  apartment 
with  the  young  and  inexperienced  convict ;  the  aged 
felon  in  the  same  room  with  the  boy,  who  has  com- 
mitted some  trifling  depredation  is,  in  fact,  erecting  a 
school  for  guilt,  and  breaking  down  all  wholesome  bar- 
riers of  discrimination.  It  is  a  college  for  the  education 
of  men  to  prey  upon  society.  A  novice,  who  if  kept 
from  company  worse  than  himself,  might  have  been  re- 
claimed, is  here  associated  with  old  ha  dened  and  skilful 
offenders  ;  he  hears  with  envy  and  admiration  the  stories 
of  their  prowess  and  dexterity  ;  his  ambition  is  roused, 
his  knowledge  extended  by  these  recitals,  and  every  idea 
of  repentance  is  scorned  ;  every  emotion  of  virtue  ex- 
tinguished. The  young  are  advanced  in  the  paths  of 
guilt ;  the  old  confirmed  in  their  baseness  ;  morals  in- 
stead ofbeing improved  are  broken  down,  and  conscience 
instead  of  being  restored  to  a  lone  of  reproof,  is  blunted 
and  seared,  as  it  were  v\ith  a  hot  iron. 

The  erection  of  solitary  cells,  therefore  as  retiring  pla- 
ces for  the  prisoners,  after  the  sabour  of  the  day  has  been 
performed,  in  which  they  will  have  an  opportunity  for 
reflections,  free  from  the  baneful  influence  resulting  from 
the  present  method  of  confining  so  many  of  them  in  a 
single  room,  is  the  only  rational  mode,  to  which  we  can 
resort  for  a  fundamental  and  radical  reform  in  our  Peni- 
tentiary system.  «  Nothing,"  says  Mr.  Haines  in  the 
general  view  of  the  penitentiary  system  as  it  exists  in  the 
United  States,  "  than  solitary  confinement  will  ever  ena- 
ble us  to  give  it  (the  penitentiary  system)  a  fair  and  full 
trial.  If  this  fail,  on  its  full  and  complete  adoption,  then 
the  system  is  intrinsically  defective  and  out  of  the  com- 
pass of  perfection.  There  is  nothing  hazarded  in  this 
remark.  If  it  were  made  by  every  friend  of  the  system, 
on  both  sides  of  the  ocean,  nothing  would  be  jeopardized, 
for  there  is  the  strongest  reasons  to  believe,  that  with  this 
improvement  a  confinement  in  a  penitentiary  would 
prove  the  most  effectual  and  salutary  punishment  that 
has  ever  been  devised,  since  the  origin  of  human  govern- 
ment and  human  laws."' 


i:  Wherever  solitary  confinement  has  been  tried,  it  has 
produced  the  most  powerful  consequences.  In  the  State 
Prison  of  Philadelphia,  offenders  of  the  most  hardened 
and  obdurate  description,  men,  who  entered  the  cells  as- 
signed them,  with  every  oath  and  imprecation,  that  the 
fertility  of  the  English  language  affords — beings,  who 
scoffed  at  every  idea  of  repentance  and  humility  ;  have 
in  a  few  weeks,  been  i-educed,  by  solitary  confinement 
and  low  diet  to  a  state  of  the  deepest  penitence.  This 
may  be  set  down  as  a  general  result  of  this  kind  of  pun- 
ishment in  that  prison.  In  the  New-York  penitentiary, 
many  striking  instances  of  penitence  and  submission 
have  also  been  afforded.  Where  prisoners  were  peculi- 
arly refractory  and  vicious,  they  have  been  placed  in  soli- 
tary cells,  and  even  those  who  carried  them  their  food  \\  ere 
enjoined  not  to  utter  a  syllable  in  the  discharge  of  their 
diurnal  duties.  The  most  overwhelming  consequences 
were  the  result.  The  spirit  of  the  offender  was  subdued, 
and  a  spirit  of  meekness,  and  evidence  of  contrition  dis- 

These,  however,  are  not  new  ideas.  So  early  as  the 
year  1804,  Mr.  Eddy  framed  a  law  "  for  erecting  a  pris- 
on for  solitary  confienment  in  the  city  of  New- York." 
By  an  alteration  in  the  above  bill,  the  erection  of  the 
prison  was  1*  ft  to  the  discretion  of  the  Corporation  of 
that  City,  who,  though  they  approved  of  the  system, 
never  carried  it  into  execution.  Good  effects  were  how- 
ever produced  by  its  passage.  A  copy  of  it  was  trans- 
mitted to  Mr.  Colquhoun,  the  greatest  police  magistrate 
that  England  has  ever  seen,  and  one  whose  writings  on 
the  subject  of  police  are  deservedly  held  in  the  highest 
estimation,  accompanied  by  a  letter  from  Mr.  Eddy. 
These  were  handed  to  Lord  Sidmouth,  then  Secretary  of 
the  Home  department,  who  decidedly  approved  of  the 
principles,  which  it  adopted,  and  in  a  few  years,  thereaf- 
ter, prisons  were  constructed  in  England  on  the  plan 
which  it  embraced. 

But  some  pretend  to  say,  that  solitary  confinement  is 

a  cruel  punishment.     It  is  certainly  intended,  that  it 

.should  operate  very  severely  on  the  feelings  of  the  priso. 

ner. ;  yet  it  is  not  entitled  to  that  appellation.     But  admit 

D  2 


its  cruelty — to  what  does  it  lead  ?  To  reflection,  to  re- 
pentance and  to  the  amendment  of  the  criminal.  His 
features  and  his  limbs  remain  as  God  has  made  them. 
If  he  forsake  the  ways  and  devices  of  the  wicked,  no 
external  deformity  remains  as  a  perpetual  mark  of  pub- 
lic ignominy,  when  crime  is  expiated,  and  guilt  done 

On  the  whole  it  seems  to  amount  to  a  moral  certainty, 
ihat  if  the  proposed  plan  of  erecting  separate  cells  in  our 
Penitentiaries  and  State-Prisons  should  be  adopted,  it 
would  prove  the  most  likely  of  any,  that  could  be  design- 
ed to  produce  reformation  in  the  convicts  ;  then,  and 
not  till  then,  will  our  penitentiary  system  answer  the  be- 
nevolent and  salutary  purpose,  for  which  it  was  in- 

3.  The  importance  of  instructing  prisoners  in  the 
principles  of  the  Christian  Religion.  The  following  are 
Mr.  Eddy's  observations  on  this  head.  "  I  would  re- 
spectfully urge  the  propriety  of  having  a  chapter  from 
the  bible  read  to  the  convicts  immediately  after  supper, 
by  one  of  the  keepers  with  suitable  solemnity,  after 
which  they  should  retire  to  their  cells,  in  an  orderly  and 
peaceable  manner.  The  importance  of  frequently 
leading  certain  portions  of  the  Holy  Scriptures  is  suffi- 
ciently obvious  and  needs  no  argument  from  me,  further 
than  to  remark,  that  it  brings  the  mind  to  habits  of  re- 
flection, and  introduces  a  kind  of  routine  and  order 
highly  beneficial."  But  besides  the  performance  of  this 
duty  regularly  every  evening,  the  reading  of  a  suitable 
portion  of  scripture,  as  often  as  opportunity  offers,  as  a 
means  of  impressing  on  the  minds  of  the  disobedient,  a 
feeling  sense  of  past  transgressions  ;  thus  "laying the  axe 
to  the  root,"  and  desiring  that  all  who  have  ears  to 
hear,  may  turn  from  the  paths  of  the  wicked,  and  be  will- 
ing to  be  led  by  him,  through  whom  alone  cometh  salva- 
tion, will  answer  an  excellent  purpose. 

The  London  Society  for  the  improvement  of  prison 
discipline  in  their  late  Annual  Report  very  justly  re* 
marks  ;  "  Religious  instruction  forms,  in  fact,  an  indis- 
oensible  branch  of  prison  discipline.  It  is  a  component 
part  of  the  system.      Without  reformation,  the  object  of 


prison  discipline  cannot  be  obtained;  without  religious 
impressions,  reformation  is  utterly  hopeless.  The  pre- 
vention of  crimes  will  never  be  effected  by  the  influence 
of  fear  alone.  In  no  Christian  or  civilized  country  has 
unmixed  severity  ever  attained  this  object.  The  crimi- 
nal thus  treated,  experiences  a  feeling  of  injury  ;  resent- 
ment is  excited  in  his  bosom,  and  the  energies  of  his 
mind  are  exerted  to  resist  correction.  He  hardens,  and 
nerves  himself  to  prove  to  those  who  are  likely  to  be  in- 
fluenced by  his  example,  the  firmness  ef  his  character, 
and  the  impotency  of  all  efforts  to  reclaim  him  ;  his  de- 
testation of  those  who  have  authority  over  him,  and  his 
contempt  for  their  punishment.  This  is  the  natural  ef- 
fect of  severity  on  minds  unimpressed  with  a  sense  of 
duty,  and  uninfluenced  by  restraint.  And  on  whom  is 
it  proposed  to  exercise  this  discipline  ?  On  those  who 
have  in  a  greater  or  less  degree  renounced  this  sense  of 
duty,  and  who  despise  all  restraint.  If  the  true  end  of 
punishment  be  sought  for,  other  motives  and  feelings  be- 
sides those  which  are  produced  by  terror,  must  be 
brought  into  action.  The  offender  must  be  regarded  as 
a  moral  agent,  and  an  accountable  being.  His  mind 
must  be  impressed  with  religious  principles,  and  his 
heart  meliorated  by  religious  feelings  ;  and  he  must  be 
convinced  how  deeply  his  reformation  is  connected  with 
his  best  interests  here,  and  his  happiness  hereafter."  The 
communication  of  religious  instruction,  while  it  militates 
against  no  just  punishment,  induces  habits  of  order  and 
subordination.  It  appears,  however  that  in  most  pris- 
ons in  England  as  well  as  in  America,  too  much  depend- 
ance  has  been  placed  on  the  deterring  influence  of  tread- 
wheel  and  other  labour  ;  while  but  little  earnestness  has 
been  evinced  to  take  advantage  of  that  subjection  of 
mind,  which  the  punishment  has  a  tendency  to  produce, 
and  which  might  be  available  for  the  purpose  of  religious 
impressions  and  permanent  improvement.  There  is  no- 
thing in  the  most  severe  kind  of  the  labour  of  a  Peniten- 
tiary, which  may  not  be  made  to  strengthen  the  power 
of  religion  and  extend  her  influence  over  the  mind  and 
feelings  of  a  prisoner.  It  would  be  indeed  to  be  deplored, 
were  the  introduction  of  hard  labour  to  be  considered  as 


superceding  or  weakening  the  necessity  for  the  labours  of 
the  ministers  of  the  gospel,  and  other  piou  persons, 
without  which  the  great  objects  of  prison  discipline  can 
never  be  attained.  Religion  is  essentially  necessary  for  the 
present  as  well  as  for  the  future  happiness  of  man,  in  every 
situation,  in  which  it  is  possible  that  he  may  be  placed  ; 
but  more  especially  when  he  is  under  the  heavy  pres- 
sure of  adversity.  It  is  then  that  the  importance  of  call- 
ing on  God,  in  the  day  of  trouble  can  be  more  easily  im- 
pressed on  the  mind  than  at  any  other  time,  and  the  im- 
pressions then  made  will  be  more  likely  to  be  perma- 
nent and  productive  of  salutary  consequences.  Deists 
and  free  thinkers,  I  mean  those  wiseacres  who  never 
think  at  all,  may  sneer  at  these  ideas,  as  the  effusion  of 
an  enthusiast,  but  \he  man,  who  is  thoroughly  acquainted 
with  the  Christian  Religion  and  the  depravity  of  the  hu- 
man heart,  will  acquiesce  in  opinion  with  me,  that  the 
Consolations  of  religion  can  never  be  more  seasonably 
administered,  than  to  the  unfortunate,  when  overwhelmed 
with  calamity. 

It  is  to  be  regretted,  that  in  the  superintendence  of  our 
criminal  prisons,  while  great  attention  has  been  paid  to 
many  things  of  minor  importance,  the  one  thing  needful 
has  been  too  much  neglected.  In  this  city,  the  Rev. 
Mr.  John  Stanford,  who  is  now  verging  towards  the 
fOth  year  of  his  as;e,  is  Chaplain  of  our  three  criminal 
establishments,  viz.  the  Bridewell,  the  Penitentiary,  and 
the  State-Prison,  as  well  as  of  the  Aims-House,  the'sCity 
Hospital  and  tae  Debtor's  Apartment.  Now  although  it 
is  impossible,  that  any  one  can  be  more  active  than 
this  zealous  veteran  in  the  service  of  his  divine  master, 
yet  lttile  benefit  can  be  expected  from  his  efforts, as  three 
active  men  would  find  sufficient  employment  in  perform- 
ing the  duties,  which  are  assigned  to  him  alone.  In  the 
Penitentiary,  he  preaches  one  sermon  to  the  males,  at 
one  o'clock,  on  every  Sunday,  and  another  to  the  fe- 
males on  every  Friday  afternoon.  This  is  by  no  means 
sufficient  to  answer  the  purpose  for  which  these  religious 
exercises  were  intended,  as  what  they  hear  in  one  sermon 
will  be  totally  forgotten  before  they  can  have  an  oppor- 
tunity of  hearing  another.     Before  we  can  expect  much 


good  to  result  from  religious  instruction  to  convicts,  it  is 
essentially  necessary,  that  there  should  be  "  line  upon 
line  and  precept  upon  precept,  here  a  little  and  there  a 
little  ;"  From  one  chaplain,  however,  whose  duty  it  is  t© 
officiate  to  six  different  establishments,  all  ofwhich  stand 
in  need  of  spiritual  directions,  it  is  evident  that  no  far» 
ther  assistance  to  the  convicts  in  the  Penitentiary  can  be 
expected.  But  as  I  am  morally  certain,  that  the  religious 
instruction  of  criminals  will  be  more  conducive  to  their 
reformation  than  any  other  means  which  have  been,  or 
ever  will  be  adopted.  I  cannot  dismiss  the  subject  with- 
out some  further  observations.  Till  some  better  means 
can  be  adopted,  I  would  humbly  recommend,  that  in  the 
Bridewell,  the  Penitentiary  and  the  State-Prison,  a  pru- 
dent, intelligent,  and  pious  person  should,  by  and  with 
the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Chaplain,  be  appointed  for 
each.  It  should  be  his  duty  to  read,  with  due  solemnity, 
a  portion  of  the  sacred  scriptures  ;  and  either  to  say  ex- 
tempore or  to  read  suitable  prayers  for  the  prisoners, 
every  evening  before  they  retire  to  rest.  He  should 
likewise  perform  the  same  duty  on  every  Sunday  morn- 
ing; and  in  case  that  neither  the  Chaplain,  nor  any  other 
clergyman  should  be  there  to  officiate,  he  should  at  the 
usual  hours  of  public  worship,  read  a  sermon  in  the 
forenoon,  and  another  in  the  afternoon  accompanied 
With  prayers,  and  praises  to  the  Most  >  igh,  in  psalms 
and  hymns  and  spiritual  songs.  The  persons  to  be  se- 
lected for  this  purpose  should  be  men  of  unblemished 
reputation,  of  respectable  natural  parts,  of  conciliating 
manners,  and  anxious,  as  far  as  may  be  consistent  with 
propriety  to  gain  the  confidence  and  affection  of  those, 
with  whom  it  will  be  their  duty  to  have  frequent  con- 
versation. In  a  word,  their  qualifications  ought  to  be 
precisely  of  the  same  kind  as  those,  ofwhich  I  have  sup- 
posed that  the  matron  should  be  possessed.  See  page  32. 
In  their  admonitions,  whatever  may  be  their  opinion  of 
the  enormity  of  the  prisoner's  guilt,  they  must  shew  no 
austerity;  but  endeavour  to  convince  him,  that  they 
have  his  interest  sincerely  at  heart,  that  the  punishment 
inflicted  upon  him  is  intended  for  his  good,  and  that  if  he 
earnestly  pray  to  God  for  his  guidance  and  direction,  h$ 


may  by  his  grace  be  enabled  on  his  return  to  society,  to 
become  useful  to  himself  and  to  the  world.  Each  of 
those  persons  should  reside  either  in  or  at  the  establish- 
ment, to  which  he  respectively  belongs  ;  so  that  he  may 
have  an  opportunity  of  being  with  the  prisoners  at  all 
suitable  occasions.  I  shall  close  my  remarks  on  this 
subject  by  a  short  quotation  from  a  letter  written  by 
William  Rawle,  Esq.  of  Philadelphia  : — "  The  chief  im- 
provements wanting  appear  to  me  to  be  the  enforcing  a 
more  close  and  regular  attendance  to  religious  duties. 
In  no  other  way  can  the  obstinacy  of  these  people's 
hearts  be  affected." 

Intimately  connected  with  this  subject  is  the  judicious 
Selection  of  officers,  a  measure  which  is  indispensibly  ne- 
cessary to  give  to  the  Fenitentiary  system  a  fair  trial.  In 
the  following  observations,  however,  I  wish  itto  be  clear- 
ly understood,  that  I  have  no  particular  reference  to  the 
officers  of  the  establishment  at  Bellevue,all  of  whom  are, 
as  I  believe,  actuated  by  a  sincere  desire  to  perform  their 
duty  with  fidelity  ;  but  they  are  applicable  to  the  mana- 
gers, overseers,  commissioners,  or  directors,  by  whatever 
name  they  may  be  called,  of  every  criminal  prison  in  the 
United  States,  and  indeed,  in  every  other  country.  In  a 
system  founded  on  uch  principles,  and  embracing  such 
objects,  it  is  indispensible,  that  from  the  superintendent, 
through  every  gradation,  to  the  lowest  officer  in  the  es- 
tablishment, an  unbroken  chain  of  co-operation  should 
be  found  throughout,  to  promote  the  moral  and  religious 
improvement  of  the  prisoners.  Every  thing,  which  is 
pre-ented  to  their  view,  should  bear  an  aspect  suitable  to 
a  school  of  reformation,  which  forming  at  all  times  a 
contrast  to  those  scenes  to  which  the  unhappy  inmates 
have  been  accustomed,  will  impress,  daily  and  hourly  up- 
on their  minds,  those  lessons,  which  the  superiors  of  the 
establishment  have  inculcated.  And  perhaps  the  expec- 
tation of  sound  and  permanent  improvement  is  not  more 
likely  to  be  realized  irom  the  direct  means  of  instruction, 
than  from  the  ever  co-operative  effect  of  an  uniform 
and  harmonious  system  of  morality,  order  and  subordi- 



Of  measures  necessary  to  be  enforced  to  lessen  the  num- 
ber of  crimes. 

If  it  be  an  object  of  importance  to  reform  the  morals 
of  criminals,  it  would  certainly  be  of  much  greater,  if  a 
mode  could  be  devised  to  lessen  the  number  of  crimes  ; 
for  although  cure  is  very  good,  prevention  is  still  better, 
and  while  we  are  laudably  concerned  in  endeavouring 
to  reclaim  the  evil  members  of  society,  let  us  look  to  the 
sources,  from  which  much  of  the  malady  springs,  and 
thereby  endeavour  to  prevent  the  consequences. 

The  sources  to  which  the  commission  of  crimes  may 
be  attributed  are  numerous  ;  but  I  shall  endeavour  to 
comprise  the  observations  which  have  occurred  to  me  on 
the  subject  within  the  following  heads  : — 

1.  The  too  frequent  intervention  of  pardons. 

2.  The  total  neglect  of  the  education  of  some  thou* 
sands  of  children,  owing  to  thede  ased  character  and  vi* 
cious  habits  of  their  parents,  although  good  schools  and 
the  necessary  books  are  provided  for  them  gratis. 

3.  The  open  profanation  of  the  Lord's  day,  by  many 
of  our  citizens  ;  but  more  especiall}'  by  young  people, 
who  instead  of  devoting  it  to  attendance  on  public  woiv 
ship,  too  often  spend  it  in  revelry,  extravagance  and  dis* 

4.  The  shameful  number  of  grog-shops,  gambling 
houses  and  brothels  which  exist  in  our  city,  to  the  great 
injury  of  the  morals  of  adults  ;  but  often  to  the 
complete  ruin  of  many  young  persons,  who  by 
haunting  these  dens  of  iniquity  have  thereby  blasted  the 
fond  hopes  of  their  parents. 

5.  The  too  frequent  interposition  of  the  pardoning  pow^ 
er.  This  has  been  considered  as  a  source  from  which 
the  most  mischievous  consequences  have  resulted,  by  u 
number  of  the  most  intelligent  men  in  the  United  State?. 


The  opinions  of  many  of  those  distinguished  citizens 
are  stated  at  length  in  Colonel  Haines'  truly  valuable 
"Report  on  the  Penitentiary  System  in  the  United. 
States,"  of  which  interesting  publication  I  have  already 
taken  notice.  Some  of  the  gentlemen  to  whom  I  allude 
are,  the  Honourable  Joseph  Hopkinson,  the  Right  Rev. 
JBishop  White  and  Roberts  Vaux  Esq.  of  Pennsylvania, 
Daniel  Raymond  Esq.  of  Baltimore,  Samuel  P.  Parsons 
Esq.  of  Virginia,  His  Excellency  William  Plumer,  late 
Governor  of  New  Hampshire,  the  Honourable  Ogden 
Edwards  and  Samuel  M.  Hopkins,  Esq.  of  this  city,  and 
the  Honourable  Daniel  Chipmun  of  Vermont.  It 
Would  have  given  me  pleasure  to  transcribe  the  senti- 
ments of  these  respectable  gentlemen  in  their  own  words; 
but  as  my  limits  compel  me  to  study  brevity,  I  must,  in 
general  content  myself  with  an  abstract  of  what  they 
have  advanced  on  the  subject. 

In  every  department  of  law,  there  are  certain  funda- 
mental maxims  which  truth,  experience  and  universal  as» 
{Sent  render  sacred  and  unquestionable.  Thus  all  jurists 
and  legislators  adopt  the  principle,  that  the  certainty  of 
punishment  is  the  prevention  of  crime.  This  was  a  fa- 
vourite feature  in  the  writings  of  Becaria.  It  was  laid 
down  by  Sir  Edward  Romily,  one  of  the  greatest  lawyers 
ever  produced  in  England,  that  could  punishment  be  re- 
duced to  absolute  certainty,  a  very  slight  penalty  would 
prevent  every  crime,  which  was  the  result  of  premedita- 
tion. But  the  effect  of  granting  frequent  pardons  goes 
directly  to  diminish  that  certainty.  Besides  if  pardons 
be  granted,  without  due  discrimination,  there  is  extreme 
and  bare  faced  injustice  in  the  policy  ;  and  it  is  a  sound 
maxim  in  jurisprudence  as  well  as  morals,  that  he  who 
attempts  to  punish  another  for  offending  against  Justice, 
should  himself  be  just.  It  is  however  a  melancholy 
truth,  that  the  most  notorious  felons  have  again  and  again 
been  pardoned  from  our  criminal  prisons,  while  the 
young  and  inexperienced  culprits,  for  committing  crimes 
©f  comparatively  petty  magnitude,  are  confined  for 

It  was  a  capital  argument  with  the  friends  of  mild 
punishments,  that  we  would  gain  by  certainty,  what  w* 


would  lose  in  severity  ;  that  laws  cannot  be  executed, 
which  shock  the  good  feelings  of  mankind  ;  that  juries 
would  not  convict,  when  they  could,  by  any  possibility 
evade  the  evidence  ;  and  that  were  convictions  obtain- 
ed, pardons  must  be  constantly  interposed  to  prevent  the 
infliction  of  a  cruel  and  disproportionate  punishment 
All  this  was  to  find  a  remedy  in  the  Penitentiary  sys. 
tern,  under  which  condign  punishment  was  infallilby  to 
follow  the  detection  of  the  offender.  But  the  facility  oi 
granting  pardons  on  the  recommendations  of  some  emi- 
nent persons,  who  often  have  no  knowledge  either  of  the 
criminal  or  of  his  crime,  has  greatly  impaired  the  founda- 
tion of  the  system,  and  deprived  us  of  the  uses,  which 
might  have  been  derived  from  it  under  a  more  rigorous 
execution  of  its  provisions. 

The  Honourable  Ogden  Edwards,  when  speaking  in 
the  late  convention  of  this  State,  on  the  effect  of  grant- 
ing pardons,  expressed  himself  to  the  following  purport ; 
"  That  by  the  indiscreet  use  of  the  pardoning  power,  the 
administration  of  justice  had  become  relaxed;  that  ii 
not  checked,  we  should  soon  have  to  erect  a  State-Prison 
in,  perhaps  every  county  of  the  State.  The  exercise 
of  the  pardoning  power  is  humane  and  agreeable  to  the 
best  feelings  of  the  human  heart;  but  sad  experience  has 
taught,  that  the  interests  of  the  community  require,  that 
the  civil  arm  should  be  brought  to  bear  with  power  upon 
malefactors."  Heconcludesin  the  following  words.  "  Un- 
less we  abolish  this  system,  we  may  as  well  open  the  pri- 
son doors  at  once.  Prisoners  enter  novicesininiquity,and 
remain  long  enough  to  become  professors  of  all  its  arts. 
This  is  the  practical  operation  of  the  system,  and  unless 
we  nerve  ourselves  against  it,  sooner  or  later,  the  rights 
of  the  people  of  this  State,  will  be  held  by  a  very  preca- 
rious tenure.  This  sickly  sympathy  is  wearing  away 
the  foundation  of  our  laws.  Placed  here  as  one  of  the 
guardians  of  the  rights  and  privileges  of  the  people.  I 
wish  to  have  such  a  provision  inserted  in  the  constitution, 
as  shall  prove  an  efficient  check  upon  vice." 

The  words  of  Mr.  Plumer,  on  the  evil  tendency  of  too 
often  exercising  the  pardoning  power,  are  full  of  sound 
sense  and  correct  observation.  w  The  power  of  grant- 


ing  pardons,"  says  he,  "  should  be  seldom  exercised, 
The  certainty  of  punishment  has  a  great,  if  not  a  most 
powerful  influence  upon  the  wicked  in  restraining  them 
from  the  commission  of  crimes.  The  government 
should,  therefore,  avoid  every  thing  that  has  a  tendency 
to  impair  the  force  of  that  certainty.  A  hardened,  subtle 
offender,  dead  to  moral  feelings,  calculates  upon  the  ma- 
ny chances  he  has  to  escape  punishment.  His  hopes 
are  strong,  that  he  shall  not  be  suspected,  that  if  suspect- 
ed he  shall  be  able  to  avoid  arrest ;  that  if  arrested, 
proof  will  not  be  obtained  to  convict  him,  and  if  con- 
victed, that  he  shall  be  pardoned.  That  spirit  of  be- 
nevolence, which  often  prompts  public  officers  to  pardon 
the  guilty,  does  honour  to  the  heart,  but  it  impairs  the 
security  of  society.  During  the  four  years,  I  was  govern- 
or of  this  state,  1  pardoned  but  two  of  the  convicts,  who 
were  confined  in  the  State-Prison  ;  although  the  applica- 
tions, for  the  first  two  or  three  years,  were  numerous, 
and  supported  by  the  recommendations  of  many  re- 
spectable characters.  I  did  not  consider  myself  at  lib- 
erty to  question  the  propriety  of  the  opinion  of  the 
court,  10I10  rendered  the  judgment.  I  believed  they 
were  the  only  tribunal  competent  to  pronounce  upon  the 
innocence  or  guilt  of  the  accused ;  and  that  their  oicn 
decision  ought  to  be  conclusive" 

Mr.  Raymond  of  Baltimore,  says,  that  "  Some  of  the 
facilities  of  escaping  punishment  might  be  easily  reme- 
died, and  with  this  view,  I  would  deprive  the  governor  of 
the  power  of  pardoning,  and  granting  a  nolle  prosequi.  1 
consider  the  power  to  be  attended  with  the  most  mis- 
chievous consequences,  and  should  be  taken  away  en- 
tirely. In  the  first  place,  this  must  be  a  most  unpleasant 
power  for  an  honest  and  humane  man  to  exercise.  In  the 
next  place  there  can  be  no  hope,  in  the  present  state  of 
society,  that  it  will  be  exercised  with  rigour  and  impar- 
tiality. Those  who  have  strong  friends  will  obtain 
a  nolle  prosequi  or  a  pardon,  be  their  crimes  small  or 
great.  Those  who  have  not  friends  will  never  obtain 
either  the  one  or  the  other.  But  these  are  by  no  means 
the  worst  consequences  of  this  power.  It  is  the  anchor 
of  hope  to  the  accused  and  the  convict,  and  there  is  vo 


ry  little  hope  of  penitence  or  reformation,  so  long  as 
there  is  hope  of  escaping  punishment.  A  single  spark 
H>f  hope  will  support  amine],  which  without  it  would  sink 
into  contrition  and  repentance." 

It  is  probable  that  pardons  have  been  granted  more 
lavishly  in  this  state  than  in  any  other  in  the  Union,  and 
the  consequence  has  been  peculiarly  disastrous.  In  a 
very  interesting  and  luminous  report,  presented  to  the 
Honourable  the  Senate  by  Samuel  M.  Hopkins  Esq.  on 
the  Penitentiary  System  in  our  own  state,  in  the  session 
of  1821.  It  states  the  overwhelming  fact,  that  since  the 
State-Prison  was  opened  in  the  year  1796,  till  that  peri- 
od, the  total  number  of  convicts  committed  to  the  State- 
Prison,  was  5,069,  of  whom  more  than  one  half  have 
been  pardoned  ;  that  is  2,819. 

But  for  this  excessive  liberality  of  our  governors  in 
granting  pardons,  no  great  blame  can  be  attached  to 
them,  as  they  were  frequently  driven  to  the  measure  by 
imperious  necessity.  Our  State-Prison  had  been  built 
to  accommodate  300  persons,  and  more  than  700  have 
been  confined  in  it  at  once.  From  this  crowded  state  of 
the  prison,  as  is  observed  in  a  report  to  the  legislature 
in  1817,  "  the  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  have  been 
obliged  to  recommend  for  pardon,  and  the  executive  to 
exercise  his  constitutional  power  of  pardoning,  merely 
for  the  purpose  of  making  room  for  the  reception  of  new 
offenders.  The  sentence  of  the  law  must,  in  the  first  in- 
stance, be  complied  with  ;  the  convicts  must  be  received 
in  the  prison,  and  put  to  labour  ;  but  before  their  time 
of  service  has  half  expired,  it  has  been  found  indispensa- 
ble to  get  rid  of  them,  in  order  to  make  room  for  others, 
under  similar  circumstances."  Since  this  report  was 
made,  however,  some  mitigation  of  the  evil  must  have 
taken  place,  in  consequence  of  the  erection  of  the  new 
prison  at  Auburn. 

On  the  whole,  this  abuse  of  executive  justice  strikes  at 
the  root  and  contravenes  the  end  of  all  criminal  codes. 
This  truth  has  been  seen  andfelt  in  o  her  countries  be- 
sides our  own.  Beccaria,  Sir  Samuel  Romily,  and  Mr, 
Colquhoun,  reprehended  it  on  the  other  side  of  the  wa> 


ter,  and  Sir  James  M'Intosh,  in  a  debate  about  six 
years  ago,  in  the  British  House  of  Commons,  on  some  of 
the  penal  laws,  stated  to  that  body  "that  one  pardon 
contributed  more  to  excitethe  hope  of  escape,  than  twen- 
ty executions  to  produce  the  fear  of  punishment ;  and 
that  an  able  and  ingenious  writer,  who  as  a  magistrate, 
was  peculiarly  competent  to  judge  forcibly,  argued,  that 
pardons  contributed  to  the  increase  of  crime." 

From  the  preceding  observations  it  will  appear,  that 
most  of  these  intelligent  statesmen  and  philanthropists, 
whom  I  have  mentioned,  wish  to  deprive  convicts  of 
the  possibility  of  obtaining  pardons  in  any  case  whate- 
ver ;  others  are  of  opinion,  that  any  individual,  howe- 
ver correct  his  motives  may  be,  is  incapable  of  exercising 
this  power  with  strict  impartiality,  and  that  it  might  be 
more  properly  vested  in  the  legislature  of  each  state. 
But  I  am  induced  to  believe  that  both  these  opinions  arc 
wrong.  Our  State  legislatures  are  in  session  only  for 
a  few  months  ;  some  of  them  for  a  few  days  in  a  year, 
and  a  case  may  occur,  where  justice  as  well  as  mercy 
may  require  that  a  pardon  should  be  granted  without  de- 
lay. And  where  it  is  possible,  that  this  power  can  be 
deposited  with  equal  propriety  as  in  the  hands  of  the 
Executive  ?  but  in  the  exercise  of  this  power,  on  which 
the  happiness  and  security  of  society  so  essentially  de- 
pend, the  greatest  caution  should  be  used.  On  this  subject 
I  deem  the  opinion  of  the  Honourable  Mr.  Hopkins  to 
be  perfectly  correct,  and  with  it  I  shall  close  this  article. 
"  Except,"  says  he  "  in  very  rare  and  extraordinary 
cases,  a  pardon  should  be  founded  only  on  circumstances 
of  excuse  or  alleviation,  attending  the  commission  of 
the  crime,  but  insufficient  to  warrant  a  legal  aquittal,  or 
on  the  discovery  of  facts  unknown  at  the  trial,  which' 
would  probably  have  produced  an  acquittal." 

Secondly.  The  total  neglect  of  the  education  of 
children  owing  to  the  debased  character  and  vicious 
habits  of  their  parents.  For  the  conduct  of  such  unfeeling 
wretches  it  is  impossible  to  form  any  apology.  In  this  city 
the  very  poorest  of  the  inhabitants,  without  any  reference 
to  complexion  or  to  the  place  in  which  they  were  born, 
have  the  means  of  education  placed  within  their  reach  : 


but  such  is  the  shameful  indifference  of  their  unnatural 
parents,  that  their  children  do  not  partake  of  its  bles- 
sings ;  for  rather  than  put  themselves  to  the  trouble  of 
sending  them  to  school,  they  suffer  them  to  remain 
in  perfect  ignorance  and  idleness.  Amongst  the  many 
adages,  which  we  may  daily  hear,  there  is  none  in  which 
there  is  more  truth  than  in  the  following.  "Idleness  is  the 
nurse  of  vice."  From  the  time  that  a  child  is  able  to  dis- 
tinguish between  good  and  evil,  till  he  arrive  at  old  age, 
if  he  be  in  health,  he  must  either  be  constantly  engaged 
in  some  laudable  pursuit,  or  he  will  certainly  become  vi- 
cious. What  then  must  become  of  these  unfortunate 
children,  who  instead  of  receiving  instruction  in  the  prin- 
ciples o  morality  and  religion,  are  permitted  to  ramble 
through  the  streets  without  any  kind  of  restraint,  and  by 
associating  with  others  already  hacknied  in  vice,  soon 
become  as  depraved  a^  the  worst  of  them.  Thus  man}' 
who,  before  they  have  attained  the  tenth  year  of  their 
age,  might  have  been  instructed  in  the  principles  of  the 
Christian  religion  and  in  the  elements  of  most  of  those 
branches  of  knowledge,  which  are  requisite  to  the  ordi 
narv  transaction  of  business,  become  adepts  in  street 
begging  and  pilfering,  as  well  as  other  offences,  which 
render  them  liable  to  punishment.  It  ought  to  be  ob- 
served, however,  that  the  faults,  committed  by  th^se  in- 
fatuates, are  more  to  be  attributed  to  their  unnatural  pa- 
rents, than  to  themselves  ;  as  it  is  to  be  feared,  that  in- 
stead of  checking  them  for  their  dishonesty,  they  too  of- 
ten encourage  them  to  perseve-e,  by  participating  in  the 
fruits  of  their  iniquity.  From  these  wretches,  therefore, 
the  public  good,  as  well  as  the  happiness  of  the  children, 
demands,  that  they  should  be  taken  away,  if  necessary, 
even  by  force,  and  placed  in  a  situation,  where  remote 
from  the  contagion  of  bad  example,  they  may,  by  proper 
instruction  and  good  government,  be  rescued  from  that 
destruction  which,  without  such  interference,  would  cer- 
tainly await  them.  The  measure  which  I  thus  recom- 
mend may  at  first  appear  harsh,  and  rather  inconsistent 
*ith  the  spirit  of  a  free  government;  but  when  parents, 
iifter  repeated  admonitions,  totally  neglect  their  children 
in  that  point  which  is  most  essential  to  their  future 
E  2 


welfare,  such  children  ought  to  be  considered  as  orphans, 
and  reared  at  the  public  expense.  It  may  be  objected 
that  their  maintainance  would  be  a  burden  to  the  commu- 
nity. Be  it  so — but  will  not  the  sum  necessary  for  pre- 
paring them  to  be  useful  members  of  society  be  much 
less  than  that  which,  should  this  be  neglected,  will  be  re- 
quisite to  attempt  their  reformation, after  they  shall  have 
become  criminals  ?  And  to  which  of  these  two  expendi- 
tures will  our  benevolent  citizens  contribute  with  the 
greatest  pleasure  ?  It  need  scarcely  be  observed,  that, 
the  confinement  of  juvenile  miscreants,  in  the  same 
place  with- old  and  inveterate  offenders,  only  tends  to 
harden  them  in  guilt  and  to  render  them  miserable 
through  life.  On  this  point,  no  words  can  be  found 
more  appropriate  than  those  of  the  benevolent  Howard. 
"  If,"  says  he  "  it  were  the  aim  and  wish  of  magis- 
strates  to  effect  the  destruction,  present  and  future  of 
young  delinquents,  they  could  not  devise  a  more  effec- 
tual method  than  to  confine  them  so  long  in  our  prisons, 
those  seats  and  seminaries  of  vice." 

In  the  sixth  \nnual  Report  of  the  Society  for  the 
prevention  of  Pauperism  in  this  city,  accepted  February 
7,  1823,  we  find  the  following  judicious  remarks.  "The 
great  preventive  of  juvenile  delinquency  is  doubtless, 
the  general  diffusion  of  moral  and  religious  instruction  ; 
to  fortify  the  infant  mind  with  good  principles  and  place 
it  above  temptation  and  the  contagion  of  bad  example. 
There  is  a  fact  stated  by  the  Trustees  of  the  free-School 
society,  which  ought  to  be  generally  known,  that  of  the 
14,000  children,  who  have  been  there  educated,  but  one 
instance  had  been  known  of  an  arraignment  at  a  crimi- 
nal bar.  How  true  is  that  golden  proverb  of  the  wise 
man,  "  Train  up  a  child  in  the  way  he  should  go,  and 
when  he  is  old,  he  will  not  depart  from  it." 

When  we  see  a  criminal  of  forfy  years  of  age  or  up- 
wards, condemned  in  a  court  of  justice,  he  is,  in  general 
an  incorrigible  offender,  and  we  are  taught  to  fear 
from  experience,  that  there  is  little  hope  of  his  reforma- 
tion by  the  exercise  of  any  human  means  ;  but  it  is  by  no 
means,  so  with  young  transgressors.  From  them,  bv 
such  means  as  God  has  put  in  our  power,  we  have 


reason  to  hope  for  the  most  salutary  effects,  and  it  is 
therefore  our  bounden  duty  to  make  the  best  possible  use 
of  them.  To  stimulate  us  to  industry  in  this  laudable 
undertaking,  the  following  quotation  from  the  Report  of 
"  The  Society  for  the  Reformation  of  Juvenile  Offend- 
ers," in  London,  3d  June,  1822,  affords  the  most  ample 
encouragement.  "  The  success  of  this  institution  (The 
Temporary  Refuge)  satisfactorily  proves  that  there  are 
but  few  even  amongst  the  most  guilty,  who  may  not  by 
proper  discipline  and  treatment,  be  subdued  and  reclaim- 
ed and  justifies  the  Meeting  in  the  conviction,  that  no 
measure  would  be  so  efficacious  in  arresting  the  progress 
of  juvenile  delinquency,  as  the  establishment  of  a  well 
regulated  prison  for  the  reformation  of  criminal  youth." 
And  why  may  not  as  much  good  be  expected  from  our 
House  of  Refuge  in  this  city  ?  This  institution  was 
set  on  foot  by  the  unceasing  exertions  of  the  Honourable 
Cadwallad  r  D.  Cold  en,  aided  by  John  Griscom, 
John  Duer,  Isaa  Collins,  Thomas  Eddy,  Esqs.  the 
Rev.  Jonatha-  YV.  Wainrtght,  and  some  other  be- 
nevolent citizens,  who  on  the  29th  of  March  last,  obtain- 
ed the  act  for  incorporating  "  The  Society  for  the  Refor- 
mation of  Juvenile  Delinquent  Offenders  in  the  City  of 
INew-York,"  and  the  building  is  now  (Oct.  30.)  in  so  great 
a  state  of  forwardness,  that  it  will  be  open  for  the  reception 
of  suitable  objects  some  time  in  the  ensuing  month.  This 
bids  fair  to  vie,  in  point  of  utility,  with  any  of  the  numer- 
ous charitable  e  tablishments,  with  which  this  metropolis 
abounds  ;  and  when  the  great  increase  of  juvenile  depre- 
dators is  taken  into  consideration,  the  exertions  of  its 
benevoleut  founders  to  check  an  evil  fraught  with  conse- 
quences so  fatal  to  the  best  interests  of  these  unhappy 
youths,  and  so  injurious  to  the  peace,  morals  and  proper- 
ty of  the  community  will,  no  doubt,  meet  with  liberal 
patronage  from  those  of  our  wealthy  and  opulent  citizens 
to  whom  Divine  Providence  has  afforded  the  means.  In 
Massachusetts,  there  is  a  prison  for  young  convicts  in 
each  county. 

Third.  The  open  profanation  of  the  Lord's  day,  by 
many  of  our  citizens;  but  more  especially  by  young 
people,  who  instead  of  devoting  it  to  religious  worship,  too 
often  spend  it  in  revelry,  extravagance  and  dissipation. 


For  the  due  observance  of  this  day,  we  have  a  law  of 
The  State  as  well  as  of  the  Common  Council ;  but  it  is  to 
be  regretted  that  neither  of  them  is  enforced  with  that  ri- 
gour, which  the  good  of  the  community  requires.  It  is  a 
notorious  fact,  that  on  that  day,  which  the  religion  and 
laws  of  our  country,  has  appropriated  to  the  worship  of 
t*od,  many  of  our  labourers  spend,  by  far  the  greatest 
part  of  their  wages,  in  intoxication  and  profanity  ;  devote 
that  time,  which  was  allott  d  to  them  for  rest  and  the 
service  of  their  maker,  to  purposes  equally  injurious  to 
Their  health,  reputation,  and  eternal  as  well  as  temporal 
happiness.  It  is  equally  true,  that  many  hundreds  of 
our  giddy  and  unthinking  youth  are  guilty  of  more  vice 
and  immorality  on  that  day,  than  on  all  the  other  days  of 
the  week.  It  is  impossible  that  their  active  minds,  can  be 
at  rest,  for  they  must  constantly  be  engaged  in  one  pur- 
suit or  other.  Hence,  if  they  cannot  be  pursuaded  to 
follow  that  course  which  would  lead  them  to  happiness, 
they  will  certainly  adopt  the  other,  which  is  the  broad 
road  to  destruction. 

The  violation  of  the  Sabbath  day  has  been  so  often 
pointed  out  from  the  pulpit  as  well  as  from  the  press,  as 
a  breach  of  religious  duty,  that  although  I  believe  it  to  be 
of  divine  appointment,  I  shall  at  present  consider  it,  in 
that  light  which  shews,  that  its  observance  has  a  great 
tendency  to  promote  loorldly  prosperity.  Let  us  sup- 
pose that  though  a  man  have  no  regard  to  the  Christian 
religion,  he  wishes  thatas  soon  as  his  son  or  apprentice 
.shall  arrive  at  the  years  of  maturity,  and  begin  to  do  busi- 
ness for  himself,  he  may  be  able  to  act  his  part  with  pro- 
priety, and  make  a  decent  figure  in  the  world.  Would 
he  not  wish  that  such  son  or  apprentice  should  con- 
tract habits  of  sobriety  and  economy,  rather  than  those 
of  intemperance  and  extravagance.  Would  he  not  per- 
ceive, if  he  were  a  man  of  discernment,  that  every  sev- 
enth day  regularly  spent  in  dissipation  and  folly,  would 
at  least  lead  to  a  desire  to  pursue  the  same  course  on  the 
>ix  intervening  days  ?  Would  he  suppose  that  a  son  or 
apprentice,  who  weekly  squandered  as  much  money  as 
he  could  command,  on  worse  than  useless  purposes, 
would  be  equally  honest,  or  as  attentive  to  his  father's' 


or  master's  interest  as  he,  who  expended  nothing,  except 
what  was  necessary  for  his  personal  comfort  or  lor  inno- 
cent and  rational  amusement  ?  And  which  of  the  two 
would  he  suppose  would  be  most  likely  to  become  an 
useful  and  honourable  member  of  society  ?  I  am  satis- 
fied, that  if  such  an  one,  after  taking  the  preceding  que- 
ries into  due  consideration,  did  not  deem  it  his  duty  to 
persuade  his  -on  or  apprentice  to  go  to  a  place  of 
worship,  where  he  might  get  some  advice,  which  would 
tend  to  his  benefit,  he  would  at  least  dissuade  him  from 
resorting  to  those  haunts  of  iniquity,  where  he  runs  the 
greatest  risk  of  learning  some  principles  and  practices, 
which  will  be  highly  injurious  to  his  happiness. 

Fourth.  The  shameful  number  of  grog-shops,  gambling 
houses  and  brothels,  which  are  suffered  to  exist  in  this  ci- 
ty. Under  this  head,  I  am  far  from  including  many  hon- 
est persons  who  are  regularly  licensed  to  keep  petty 
taverns,  and  who  would  neither  allow  gambling,  exces- 
sive drinking,nor  any  other  immoral  practice  to  be  carri- 
ed on  in  their  houses ;  but  it  is  to  be  regretted,  that  there 
are  others,  whose  only  object  is  to  acquire  profit,  to  which 
end  they  employ  every  artifice  in  their  power,  to  entice 
the  labourer  to  squander,  in  intoxication,  those  earnings, 
by  which  his  family  ought  to  be  supported.  And  what 
is  still  worse,  they  often  permit  boys  to  tipple  in  their 
detestable  holes ;  whereby  many  of  our  youths  become 
habitual  drunkards  several  years  before  they  arrive  at 
manhood.  There  they  are,  likewise,  allowed  to  play  at 
cards,  or  any  other  kind  of  game,  till  the  whole  of  then- 
money  be  expended,  after  which  their  company  is  no 
longer  agreeable.  In  these  places  the  morals  of  many  of 
our  young  people  are  corrupted, and  their  ruin  complete- 
ly effected  to  the  unspeakable  grief  of  their  parents. 
These  dens  of  immorality  are  easily  distinguished  from 
those  places  which  are  kept  by  orderly  people  for  the  re- 
tail of  ardent  spirits,  and  for  the  moderate  refreshment  of 
their  guests.  The  former  exhibit  constant  scenes  of 
quarrelling  and  riot,  from  whence  arise  lawsuits  and  crimi- 
nal prosecutions,  while  the  latter  in  which  no  disturbance 
is  allowed,  maybe  considered  as  necessary  for,  the  ac- 
comodation of  the  public. 


The  habit  of  drinking  ardent  spirits  which  is  too  often 
learnt  or  at  least  greatly  increased  in  these  noisy  and  disor- 
derly grog-shops  is  productive  of  such  dreadful  consequen- 
ces, as  it  is  impossible  to   describe.       It  enervates  the 
mind,  sours  the  disposition,  inflames  the  passions,  ren- 
ders the  heart  callous  to  the   feelings  of  humanity,  and 
leads  to  the  neglect  and  violation  of  the  social  duties.     It 
lays  the  foundation  of  many  diseases,  and  makes  others 
terminate  fatally,  which   would   otherwise  yield  to  the 
power  of  medicine.     By  many  it  has  been  deemed  fully 
as  destructive  to  the  human  species  as  the  sword  ;  and  in 
this  country  it   furnishes  death  with   more  victims   than 
all  the  other  causes  of  premature  mortality.      Drunken- 
ness is  a  vice  which  is   more  injurious  than  any  other  to 
religion  and  morality,  to  good  government  and  social  or- 
der, to  justice  and  equal  rights  of  fellow  citizens.      As 
intemperate  men  lose  all  want  of  character  and  of  coun- 
try, they  become  the  worst  of  population  in  a  free  state. 
Their  vice  begets  poverty,  poverty  enforces  dependence, 
and  dependence  increases  corruption.     In  the  United 
States,  this  baneful  vice  occasions  more  than  one  half  of 
our  paupers,  a  large  proportion  of  our  insolvents,  and 
by  far  the  greatest  part,  at  least  seven   eighths  of  those 
w fortunate  beings,  who  inhabit  our  criminal  prisons. 
In  regard  to  the  great  moral  evils,  family   distresses  and 
degradation  of  character  produced  by  inebriation,  they 
must,   in  all  parts  of  our  country,  be  daily  seen  by  the 
people  at  large.     On  this  distressing  subject,  so  truly  dis- 
graceful to  our  country,   a   writer  in  the  North  American 
Review,  thus  expresses  himself.    "  Go  where  you   will," 
says  he,  "you  cannot  escape  the  sight  of  this  destroyer 
of  domestic  peace  and  public  virtue." — It  is  boldly  al- 
leged as  the  excuse  of  crimes,  and  there  is  no  transgres- 
sion, for  which  the  offender  does  not  think  that  he  has 
sufficiently  apologized,  when  he  says,  that  he  was  intoxi- 
cated."    Now,  does  it  not  evince  an  unparalleled  degree 
of  impudence  when  a  man  shews  himself  so  lost  to  shame, 
as  to  attempt  to  vindicate  himself  for  the  commission  of 
one  crime,  by  confessing,  that  he  had  voluntarily  been 
guilty  of  another,  which  was  the  occasion  of  it  ?     And  is 
it  not  an  aggravation  of  his  crimes,  that  at  the  time  when 


he  was  committing  the  first,  he  well  knew,  that  it  would 
deprive  him  of  the  use  of  his  reason,  and  thereby  render  it 
probable  that  he  would  be  guilty  of  a  second  ?  In  one  of  the 
wisest  of  the  ancient  nations,  drunkenness  was  deemed  so 
odious  and  criminal,  that  a  law  was  made  subjecting  him 
to  a  double  punishment,  who  committed  a  crime  when 
drunk  ;  viewing  his  intoxication  as  one  of  the  crimes, 
that  made  such  double  punishment  just  and  proper. 
Other  nations,  the  wisest  and  the  most  civilized,  have 
invariably  enacted  laws  to  suppress  intemperance,  deem- 
ing it  a  crime  loathsome  and  odious  in  itself,  and  in  its 
consequences  ruinous  to  families  and  society ;  subversive 
of  public  order,  and  the  poison  of  morality,  the  enemy 
of  religion  and  the  source  of  disease. — The  oracle  of  the 
English  law  pronounced  a  drunkard  a  voluntary  daimon, 
and  it  has  ever  been  the  language  of  the  English  law  and 
of  ours  to  every  person,  "You  shall  not  excuse  the  crime 
of  murder  by  alleging  the  crime  of  drunkenness." 

Against  this  abominable  vice,  a  late  President  of  the 
United  States,  bears  the  following  testimony,  in  a  letter 
which  was  published  a  few  years  ago,  in  many  of  0111 
most  respectable  gazettes  ;  "  A  drunkard,"  says  he,  "is 
the  most  selfish  ^eing  in  the  universe.  He  has  no  sense 
of  modesty,  shame  or  disgrace  ;  he  has  no  sense  of  duty, 
or  sympathy  of  affection  with  his  father  or  mother,  his 
brother  or  sister,  his  friend  or  neighbour,  his  wife  or  chil- 
dren, no  reverence  for  his  God,  no  sense  of  futurity 
in  this  world  or  the  other ;  all  is  swallowed  up  in  the 
mad,  selfish  joy  of  the  moment.  Is  it  not  humiliating 
that  Mahometans  and  Hindoos  should  put  to  shame  the 
whole  Christian  world,  by  their  superior  examples  of 
temperance  ?  Is  it  not  degrading  to  Englishmen  and 
Americans,  that  they  are  so  infinately  exceeded  by  the 
French  in  this  cardinal  virtue?  And  is  it  not  mortifying 
beyond  expression,  that  we  Americans  should  exceed  all 
other  eight  millions  of  people  on  the  globe,  as  I  verily 
believe  we  do,  in  this  degrading  beastly  vice  of  intem- 
perance." But  upon  this  subject,  it  wonld  be  needless 
to  enlarge.  The  highest  authority  has  pronounced  it  a 
sin,  which  excludes  from  a  happy  immortality. 

Since  drunkenness  is  a  vice,  therefore,  so  peculiarly 

od  THE    HISTORY    OF 

degrading  to  our  national  character,  surely  every  one  who 
is  interested  in  the  preservation  of  the  peace,  the  welfare 
and  the  liberty  of  his  country,  every  one,  who  reflects  on 
the  spirit,  the  laws  and  the  sanctions  of  the  holy  religion, 
which  he  professes,  must  be  impressed  with  the  necessity 
of  endeavouring  to  eradicate  the  progress  of  this  evil  from 
our  otherwise  happy  land.  "  A  heavy  tax,"  says  the 
writer  whom  I  have  last  quoted,  "upon  domestic  as  well 
as  foreign  spirits,  is  a  remedy,  from  which  most  is  to  be 
hoped  ;  but  unhappily  it  is  too  much  opposed  by  consid- 
erations of  private  interest,  and  a  love  of  popularity  in  ru- 
lers, to  leave  much  expectation  of  its  being  speedily 
adopted."  The  persons,  who  sell  ardent  spirits  by  retail 
in  this  city,  amount  to  at  least  2000,  and  half  that  number 
would  be  more  than  sufficient  to  answer  every  useful  pur- 
pose. The  number  of  licenses  should,  therefore,  be 
greatly  diminished  and  given  to  none,  except  to  persons 
of  unexceptionable  character,  who  should,  likewise,  give 
ample  security  for  their  conforming  to  the  laws  respect- 
ing the  regulation  of  taverns.  This  would  put  no  one, 
who  is  worthy  of  obtaining  a  license  to  the  least  inconve- 
nience, as  he  could  easily  find  a  respectable  friend,  who 
would  cheerfully  be  surety  for  his  good  behaviour,  and 
would  be  pleased  with  a  regulation  which  would  add  to 
the  respectability  of  his  calling,  whilst  at  the  same  time  it 
would  prove  an  inseparable  barrier  against  those  unprin- 
cipledjwretches  who,  regardless  of  consequences,  and  sole- 
ly bent  upon  gain,  keep  their  filthy  grog-shops,  as  nui- 
cences  of  intemperance,  disorder  and  profligacy,  to  the 
irreparable  injury  of  many  of  our  most  promising  young 
people.  It  would  also  seem  proper,  so  to  enhance  the 
expense  of  obtaining  license  to  retail  spirituous  liquors,  as 
to  diminish  the  number  of  applicants.  The  existing  laws 
against  disorderly  houses  and  persons  retailing  ardent 
spirits,  without  license,  (of  whom  there  are  many)  ought 
likewise  to  be  rigidly  enforced.  A  law  without  execu- 
tion is  equally  inefficient  as  a  sword  in  its  scabbard.  It 
is  a  body  without  life;  a  cause  without  an  effect ;  a  coun- 
tenance of  a  thing,  and  in  fact,  nothing.  The  time  of  a 
legislature  is  uselessly  employed,  if  they  enact  laws,  with- 
out devising  the  adequate  means  of  causing  them  to  be 


To  devise,  however,  the  most  effectual  means  for 
checking  and  restraining  this  inveterate  and  growing 
evil,  must  ultimately  rest  with  the  wisdom  of  our  corpo- 
ration and  legislature,  and  it  cannot  be  supposed,  that 
they  will  regard  with  indifference  a  subject,  which  so 
deeply  involves  the  health,  the  morals  and  the  happiness 
of  their  fellow  citizens. 

Of  gambling  houses,  little  need  be  said.  Their  dan- 
gerous and  immoral  tendency  is  well  known  to  every 
man  of  the  least  reflection.  It  is  a  notorious  fact,  that  the 
sons  of  our  first  citizens  and  the  inmates  of  our  most  re- 
spectable families  have  been  seduced,  fleeced  and  ruined 
in  these  detestable  haunts  of  iniquity. 

A  similar  observation  may  be  made  with  respect  to 
brothels,  of  which  the  number  is,  in  certain  parts  of  the 
city,  much  greater  than  is  generally  imagined.  hut  our 
police  magistrates  are  entitled  to  much  credit  for  their  ac- 
tive exertions  in  endeavouring  to  check  this  evil.  Let 
the  following  fact  speak  for  itself.  On  Nov.  1st  there 
were  152  female  prisoners  in  the  penitentiary,  of  whom 
37  are  convicts,  and  14  maniacs  ;  of  the  other  101,  al- 
most the  whole  of  them  are  common  prostitutes,  who  have 
been  committed  under  the  vagrant  act.  If  the  old  wretch- 
es, who  keep  these  places,  could  be  taken  up  and  severely 
punished,  itwould  be  a  more  effectual  remedy. 

Of  the  two  last  vices,  it  may  be  observed,  that  if  drunk- 
enness could  be  suppressed,  they  would  certainly  meet 
with  a  very  severe  check.  Some  people  of  temperate 
habits  may  be  addicted  to  them  ;  but  most  of  those,  who 
frequent  gambling  houses  and  brothels,  particularly  the 
latter,  will  be  found  to  be  drunkards — the  most  certain 
mode,  therefore,  of  eradicating  these,  and  other  vices,  will 
be  to  banish  drunkenness  from  amongst  us.  Then  and 
not  till  then,  shall  we  be  blessed  with  a  thorough  reforma- 
tion of  morals;  then  will  the  number  of  crimes  be  dimin- 
ished, and  we  shall  soon  find  our  Aims-Houses,  Debtors' 
Apartments,  and  criminal  prisonstimuch  less  crowded 
than  they  are  at  present. 

It  would  be  absurd  to  suppose,  that  it  is  within  the 
compass  of  human  exertions  to  suppress  this  most  detest- 
able vice  at  once ;  but  it  is  certainly  in  the  power  o't 


the  wise  and  the  good  to  do  much  to  restrain  and  limit 
its  pernicious  consequences.  They  may  for  example,  by 
their  importunities,  induce  the  legislature  to  pass  such  a 
law  as  was,  some  years  ago  recommended  by  the  Hon- 
ourable Dewitt  Clinton,  when  governor  of  this  state, 
"  to  prevent  the  habitual  drunkard  from  exhibiting,  in 
public,  the  odious  vice  of  drunkenness, and  by  its  frequen- 
cy rendering  it  less  detestable;  and  to  n strain  him  from 
wasting  his  property  and  thereby  bringing  his  family,  for 
who  . i  he  is  bound  to  provide  by  the  strongest  obligations, 
to  want  and  wretchedness."  The  very  magnitude  of  the 
evil,  which  we  so  much  deplore,  will,  in  no  small  degree 
work  its  own  cure.  Our  history  is  one  standing  proof, 
that  the  greater  the  evil  the  more  certain  the  remedy,  if 
within  the  scope  of  human  means ;  because  the  wide  ex- 
tended efforts  of  a  great  and  free  people  are  not  often 
made  to  remove  small  evils;  but  will  invariably  be  made, 
in  time,  to  remove  very  great  ones.  To  effect  this  ob- 
ject must  be  a  work  of  time,  patience  and  perseverance  ; 
but  as  for  the  last  ten  or  twelve  years,  men  highly  distin- 
guished for  talents,  virtue  and  piety,  have  in  different 
parts  of  the  United  States,  been  exerting  themselves  in 
this  good  cans  ,  with  a  zeal,  which  does  them  the  greatest 
honour;  their  efforts  will,  no  doubt,  be  ultimately  crowned 
with  success  and  the  pernicious  effects  of  intemperance 
greatly  circumscribed. 


Of  the   Treatment  and  Diet  of  Convicts. 

It  was  far  from  being  the  intention  of  the  legislature 
of  any  state,  which  has  adopted  the  Penitentiary  System, 
that  convicts  should  find  their  prison  to  be  a  place  of  ease, 
comfort  and  enjoyment.  On  the  contrary,  it  was  one 
of  the  principle  objects  of  such  institutions,  that  the  an- 
ticipation of  being  immured  within  their  walls  should  be 
productive  of  terror ;  for  the  great  object  of  punishment, 
though  not  the  ostensible  one,  is  to  deter  others  frotn 


committing  offences.  A  Penitentiary  must,  therefore,  to 
answer  the  design  of  its  establishment,  be  made  a  place 
of  real  punishment  to  those,  who  are  sentenced  t»  con- 
finement in  it,  and  it  is  no  less  than  a  mockery  of  Justice, 
to  shut  up  those  criminals  in  Penitentiaries,  to  whom 
they  have  no  terrors,  and  who,  in  reality,  enjoy  as  much 
happiness,  while  there,  as  the.,  were  accustomed  to 
while  at  large  in  the  world.  Jn  order  that  a  Penitentiary 
System  ma\  be  rendered  effectual ;  care  mu.-t  be  taken, 
that  in  our  criminal  prisons,  there  should  be  nothing  at- 
tractive to  the  idle,  the  needy,  and  the  profligate"  by 
holding  out  the  idea  of  comfort  and  convenience.  Fel- 
ons must  not  eat  better  food,  find  their  animal  spirits 
better  sustained  and  be  more  comfortabl  clothed,  after 
sentence  in  a  court  of  justice,  than  they  ordinarily  enjoyed 
in  the  busy  world,  before  its  freedom  was  taken  from 
them.  Personal  liberty  is  dear  to  mankind  ;  but  repug- 
nance is  diminished,  when  something  like  an  equivalent 
is  found  for  its  privation  in  an  improved  state  of  existence. 
What  aspect  then  should  a  criminal  prison  produce  ?  A 
place,  where  every  thing  conspires  to  punish  the  guilty. 
There  should  be  nothing  in  it,  that  is  either  pleasant  or 

These  ideas  may,  to  some  persons,  appear  to  savour 
of  inhumanity  ;  but  if  I  know  my  own  heart,  I  am  actua- 
ted by  a  very  different  motive.  Our  most  eminent  ju- 
rists, our  learned  and  pious  divines  and  many  of  our  citi- 
zens who  are  peculiarly  zealous,  in  the  cause  of  humanity, 
have  in  their  writings,  upon  this  subject,  expressed  the 
very  same  sentiments.  Let  it  only  be  recollected,  that 
it  is  the  main  design  of  the  penitentiary  system,  to  effect 
the  reformation  of  offenders,  and  that  the  means  hereto- 
fore adopted  for  that  purpose,  have  almost  entirely  failed, 
and  it  will  be  obvious  to  every  one,  that  it  would  be 
highly  improper  to  grant  prisoners  any  unnecessary  in- 
dulgence, If  the  treatment  which  a  criminal  meets  with; 
while  in  confinement,  subject  him  neither  to  privation 
nor  inconvenience,  he  regards  what  was  intended  as  a 
punishment  with  perfect  indifference.  Hence  it  often 
happens,  that  he  is  scarcely  set  at  liberty,  before  he  com- 
mits some  new  offence,  and  after  putting  a  court  of  justice^ 


a  jury  and  witnesses  to  considerable  trouble,  and  the 
public  to  about  $30  expenses,  he  is  sent  back  to  enjoy 
himself  as  well  as  he  can  in  his  former  quarters.  There 
are,  at  present,  a  number  of  vagrants,  who  have  been 
three,  and  some  of  them,  four  times,  lodgers  in  the  Peni- 
tentiary, and  of  the  convicts,  there  are  not  a  few,  who  are 
now  serving  their  third  apprenticeship.  There  are  also 
several  persons,  who  have  been  formerly  inmates  of  the 
Philadelphia  State-Prison,  as  well  as  our  own.  Now  al- 
though cruelty  ous:ht  never  to  be  ex  rcised,  in  any  case 
whatever,  yet  with  respect  to  offenders  whose  reforma- 
tion is  so  very  hopeless,  what  indulgence  is  it  possible 
for  them  to  look  for?  The  food,  clothing  and  lodging 
of  a  prisoner  should,  therefore,  be  regulated  simply  with 
reference  to  the  means  necessary  for  the  support  of 
health,  beyond  which  any  allowance  would  be  unques- 
tionably improper.  For  if  we  are  to  render  our  criminal 
prisons,  places  where  the  desperate  find  comfort  and  in- 
dulgence, if  they  prefer  to  move  and  breathe  in  their 
waifs  to  being  in  the  possession  of  personal  liberty;  the 
terror  of  punishment  is  gone,  and  the  dread  of  the  law  is 

Convicts  who  are  consigned  to  hard  labour,  should  be 
supplied  with  coarse,  wholesome  and  nourishing  food, 
and  they  should  have  it  in  sufficient  quantities  to  meet 
the  requisitions  of  nature.  But  here  we  should  stop. 
Every  thingcalculated  to  inflame  the  passions  and  sharp- 
en the  evil  propensities  of  men;  everything  like  good 
living  ;  every  thing  calculated  to  render  a  penitentiary  a 
place  of  gratification  to  the  appetite  shuuld  b<*  di  carded. 
Spirituous  liquors  of  every  description,  should  be  rigidly 
prohibited,  and  every  kind  «,f  food  and  drinks  which 
contain  any  stimulating;  quality,  should  never  be  allowed 
except  when  administered  as  medicine. 

The  above  is  an  abstract  of  the  opinion  expressed  by 
Mr.  Haines  on  the  subject  of  diet  in  his  "  tteport  on 
the  Penitentiary  System,"  and  from  the  following  regula- 
tions adopted  in  the  year  1  822,  by  the  Commissioners 
of  the  Aims-House  and  Bridewell,  to  whom  the  manage- 
ment of  the  penitentiary  is  entrusted,  it  \iyll  be  seen  that 
his  ideas  concerning  the  quantity  and  quality  of  the  food, 


io  be  allowed  to  prisoners,  did  not  differ  materially  from 

Daily  Bill  of  Fare  io  each  of  the  Prisoners  in  the 
Penitentiary  at  Bellevuc. 

To  those  at  hard  labour. 
1  lb.  of  Beef  or  1 2  oz.  of  Pork. 
I  I  lb.  of  Bread, 
and  when  they  have  fish,  which  is  very  seldom, 
1-2  lb— 
1-2  gill  of  Molasses ; 

When  they  have  Beef,  it  is  always  boiled,  and  of  the 
soup  thickened  with  Indian  meal,  and  vegetables,  each 
prisoner  may  have  as  much  as  he  pleases.  The  same 
observation  may  be  made,  with  respect  to  their  sappan 
which  is  made  of  Indian  meal.  Fourteen  oz.  of  tea  are 
allowed  for  every  hundred  persons. 

To  those  confined  in  prison  and  not  at  hard  labour. 
6  oz.  of  Beef or  4  of  Pork. 

Of  the  other  articles  they  have  the  same  allowance 
as  those,  who  are  at  work. 

No  task  is  exacted  of  any  prisoner,  which  it  is  not  in 
his  power  to  perform  without  difficulty.  But  if  any  one 
be  refractory,  and  will  not  obey  the  directions  of  his 
keeper,  whether  it  be  to  work  on  the  Tread-Mill,  on  the 
roads,  at  the  pin  factory,  or  any  ther  kind  of  labour,  a 
few  d  >ys  confinement,  and  nothing  but  bread  and  water, 
for  his  subsistence,  seldom  fails  to  reduce  him  to  subjec- 
tion. If  a  female  be  disobedient,  she  is  treated  in  the 
same  manner. 

When  convicts  are  sick,  they  are  sent  to  the  hospital, 
where  they  are  exclusively  under  the  care  and  disection 
of  the  physicians,  and  allowed  such  food  and  drinks, 
not  excluding  wine  and  ardent  spirits,  as  to  them  may 
appear  most  proper  to  promote  their  recovery ;  and  it  is 
but  justice  to  these  gentlemen  (  r.  William  L.  Belden 
and  Dr.  John  L.  Suckley)  to  state  that  they  treat  their 
patients  with  great  tenderness  and  attention,  and  allow 
them  to  want  for  nothing  necessary  for  their  comfort. 

No  prisoners  pither  male  or  female,  are,  after  their  ar* 
rival    at  the  Penitentiary,  allowed  to  wear  their  own 
clothes.    These  are  carefully  marked,  and  laid  aside  (ill 
E  2 


they  are  liberated,  when  each  gets  back  his  or  her  own. 
During  their  confinement,  they  are  supplied  with  clothes 
from  the  prison,  of  a  coarse  quality,  indeed,  but  suffi- 
cient for  comfort,  and  suitable  for  the  season.  The 
clothes  of  the  males  are  of  the  same  kind  of  cloth,  of 
the  same  colour,  and  all  made  in  the  same  manner,  so 
that  they  may  be  said  to  be  dressed  in  uniform.  The 
same  thing  may  be  said  with  respect  to  the  females. 

It  has  been  said  by  some  writers,  that  a  disregard  for 
personal  cleanliness  leads  to  the  relaxation  of  moral 
principles,  and  that  no  public  prison  can  be  a  place  of 
reform,  if  a  disregard  to  neatness  be  tolerated.  To  this 
important  object,  the  greatest  attention  is  paid  in  our 
penitentiary  ;  every  apartment  of  which  is  kept  perfect* 
ly  clean  and  wholesome,  and  the  convicts  are  obliged  to 
keep  their  persons  entirely  free  from  every  kind  of  un-r 
cleanliness.  This  fact  has  been  noted  with  great  plea- 
sure, by  many  of  the  respectable  persons,  who  have  visit- 
ed the  Tread-Mill. 

It  has  been  observed,  that  when  a  convict  is  sentenced 
to  hard  labour,  the  spirit  and  letter  of  the  law  should  be 
strictly  observed.  He  should  be  put  to  work  and  kept 
to  it,  in  the  true  sense  and  meaning  of  ihe  words,  and  no 
favour  should  be  shewn  to  one  individual,  which  is 
not  granted  to  another.  To  permit  convicts  to  pass 
through  any  portion  of  their  term  in  indolence,  when 
it  was  intended  by  legislatures  and  courts  of  justice. 
as  well  as  expected  by  themselves,  that  industry 
should  be  their  daily  lot,  would  be  an  absolute  per» 
version  of  the  law.  They  must  therefore,  if  in  pos^ 
session  of  health  and  strength,  be  made  to  perform 
the  work  allotted  to  them ;  and  I  have  never  seen  any 
task  imposed  upon  them,  which  was  either  cruel  or  op- 
pressive. If,  at  any  time,  they  prove  refractory,  tl  e 
most  effectual  method  of  bringing  them  to  a  sense  of 
their  duty  is,  as  has  been  before  observed,  close  confine- 
ment, and  a  diet  of  bread  and  water.  This  may  be  deem* 
ed  harsh  treatment;  but  the  prisoner  has  none  to  blame 
but  himself,  as  by  complying  with  the  commands  of  his 
keeper,  which  are  never  unreasonable,  he  can  avoid  be» 
jog  placed  in  so  disagreeable  a  predicament. 


t  During  the  time,  that  I  have  been  an  attendant  at  the 
Tread-Mill,  I  have  observed  no  instance  of  favour,  parti- 
ality or  affection  being  manifested  to  any  of  the  prisoners  j 
yet  I  have  sometimes  seen  a  few  of  them,  as  I  thought^ 
very  properly  exempt  from  the  performance  of  as  much, 
labour  as  was  exacted  from  others.  Let  the  following 
speak  for  itself.  When  a  person  is  put  to  the  Tread- 
Mill,  who  has  been  brought  up  in  a  delicate  manner,  and 
Who,  very  probably,  never  did  an  hour's  hard  labour  in 
his  life,  it  must  be  obvious,  that  it  would  be  unjust  and 
tyrannical,  to  exact  as  much  labour  from  him  as  from  his 
stout  and  rugged  companions,  who  had  been  accustomed 
to  toil  and  hardships  from  their  younger  years.  Till 
such  an  one,  therefore,  gets  inured  to  the  labour,  he  is 
only  expected  to  perform  such  proportion  of  the  task  as 
may  be  suited  to  his  strength ;  and  notwithstanding  this 
indulgence,  he  will  be  more  fatigued  at  the  close  of  the 
day,  than  his  companions,  who  have  dom-  much  more 
than  he.  The  same  rule  is,  likewise,  observed  with  re- 
spect to  those,  who  are  feeble  and  labour  under  great 
debility.  In  such  an  establishment,  much  must  be  left  to 
the  discretion  of  the  keepers  in  these  as  well  as  in  some 
other  cases,  in  which  it  is  impossible  to  lay  down  any 
particular  rules,  and  of  this  discretion,  I  have  never 
.known  them  to  make  an  improper  use. 

I  shall  conclude  my  observations  upon  this  important 
Subject  with  lamenting  in  common  with  the  many  friends 
of  the  penitentiary  system,  that  as  yet,  it  has  been  far. 
irom  answering  the  humane  purpose,  for  which  it  was  in- 
tended. Still,  however,  it  must  not  be  abandoned;  as 
we  have  the  strongest  reason  to  believe,  that,  as  expe- 
rience has  pointed  out  to  us  some  of  its  radical  defects, 
the  wise  and  intelligent  legislatures  of  the  different  states, 
will  be  able  to  obviate  them,  and  so  to  improve  and  new 
model  the  whole,  as  to  render  it  highly  conducive  to  the 
prevention  of  crimes,  as  well  as  to  the  reformation  of 
criminals.  If  in  the  preceding  pages,  I  have  advanced 
any  sentiments,  whether  borrowed  from  others  or  the 
r?sult  of  my  own  observation,  which  can  tend  to  the  ac- 
complishment of  this  truly  salutary  object,  I  shall  rejoice 
fa  the  pleasing  thought,  that  my  time  and  laboor  have 

<io  THE    HISTORY  OF 

been  usefully  employed;  and  though  it  be  impossible, 
that  men  should  think  alike  on  a  subject  of  so  great  im- 
portance, as  that,  which  aims  at  the  correction  of inveter- 
ate evils,  !  have  advanced  no  opinions,  which  are  not 
supported  by  very  respectable  authority. 



Of  the  net  to  incorporate  the  Society  for  the  reformation 
of  Juvenile  Delinquents  in  the  City  of  New-York, — 
Passed  March  2d,  1824. 

As  reference  has  been  had  to  the  said  act,  page  53, 
and  there  is  great  reason  to  hope,  that  it  will,  when  carri- 
ed into  full  operation,  be  productive  of  much  good  to  the 
public  in  general ;  but  more  especially  to  those  for  whose 
benefit  it  was  more  especially  enacted,  it  is  hoped  that 
(he  following  abstract  will  be  satisfactory  to  many  of  my 
readers.     The  preamble  reads  thus  : 

"  Whereas,  by  the  petitions  of  several  inhabitants  of 
the  city  of  New- York,  it  is  represented,  that  they  are  de- 
sirous of  establishing  a  society,  and  House  of  Refuge, 
tor  the  reformation  of  juvenile  delinquents  in  the  said  ci- 
ty, and  have  prayed  to  be  incorporated,  Therefore." 

Beit  enacted  by  the  people  of  the  State  of  New-Yorl:, 
Sfc.  1st.  That  all  those,  who  now  are  or  hereafter  shall 
become  subscribers  to  the  said  association  shall  be  a  body 
corporate  by  the  name  of  "  The  managers  of  the  society 
for  the  Reformation  of  Juvenile  Delinquents  in  the  city  of 
New-York,"  with  the  usual  privileges,  and  shall  be  capa- 
ble in  law  of  purchasing,  holding  and  conveying  any  real 
or  personal  estate :  Provided,  that  such  real  estate  shall 
never  exceed  the  yearly  value  of  $10,000,  nor  be  appli- 
ed to  ;my  other  purposes,  than  those  for  which  this  incor- 
poration is  formed. 

-  2d.  That  the  intended  concerns  of  the  said  corporation 
shall  be  managed  by  a  board  of  30  managers, to  be  elected 
annually  by  the  members  resident  in  the  city  of  New- 


York,  on  the  3d  Monday  in  November  and  that  the  follow- 
ing persons  shall  compose  the  aid  board, till  the  3d  Mon- 
day of  November,  which  will  be  in  the  year  1825,  viz. 
Cadwallader  D.  Cold  n,  John  Griscom,  John  Duer,  Jo- 
nathan W.  Wainwright,  Isaac  Collins,  Thomas  Eddy, 
Ansel  W.  Ives,  John  T.  Irving,  John  E.  Hyde,  Corne- 
lius Dubois,  James  W.  Gerard,  Joseph  Curtis,  John 
Stearns,  Ralph  Olmsted,  Robert  F.  Mott,  Stephen  Al- 
len, Henry  1.  Wyckoff,  Samuel  Cowdrey,  John  Targee, 
Arthur  Bu-tis,  Joseph  Grinnell,  Hugh  Maxwell,  Henry 
Mead,  Peter  A.  Jay,  Gilbert  Coutant,  Cornelius  R.  Duf- 
fle, James  Lovett,  John  R.  Willis,  William  M.  Carter 
and  Frederick  Shelden,  and  that  no  manager  of  the  so- 
ciety shall  receive  any  compensation  for  his  services. 

3d.  That  if  the  annual  election  shall  not  take  place  at 
the  time  prescribed,  the  managers  of  the  board  shall  con- 
tinue in  office  till  a  new  election  :  and  that  in  case  of  an 
equalit3'  °f  votes  for  one  or  more  persons  as  a  member  or 
members  of  the  board  of  managers,  the  said  board  shall 
determine  which  of  such  persons  shall  be  considered  as 
elected,  and  such  person  or  persons  shall  take  his  or  their 
seats  accordingly. 

4lh.  That  the  said  managers  shall  have  power  to  take 
into  the  House  of  Refuge,  all  such  children,  as  shall  be 
taken  up  or  committed  as  vagrants,  or  convicted  of 
crimes  in  the  said  city,  as  may  in  the  judgment  of  the 
court  of  Sessions,  the  court  of  Oyer  and  Terminer,  the 
Jury  before  whom  any  such  offender  shall  be  tried,  the 
Police  magistrates  or  the  commissioners  of  the  Alms 
House  and  Bridewell,  be  proper  objects,  and  the  said 
managers  may  place  the  child  committed  to  their  care, 
during  their  minority,  at  such  employments,  and  cause 
them  to  be  instructed  in  such  branches  of  useful  knowl- 
edge, as  shall  be  suitable  to  their  years  and  capacities  ; 
and  they  may  hind  out  the  said  children,  by  their  consent, 
as  apprentices  or  servants,  during  their  minority,  to  such 
persons  and  at  such  places,  to  learn  such  trades  and  em- 
ployments, as  in  (heir  judgment,  will  be  mostfor  their  re- 
formation, am<n  bnent,  and  the  future  benefit  and  advan- 
tage of  such  children  :  Provided,  that  the  power  of  the 
said  managers  shall  not  extend  to  the  case  of  the  females 
beyond  the  age  of  eighteen  years. 

6$  THE    HISTORY   OF 

5th.  That  all  the  provisions  in  "  The  Act  concerning 
•Apprentices  and  servants,"  relating  to  the  covenants  to  be 
inserted  in  the  indentures  of  apprentices  and  servants, 
made  by  the  overseers  of  the  poor,  and  the  provisions  of 
the  6th,  9th,  10th,  11th,  l?th,  and  13th  sections  of  the 
last  mentioned  act,  shall  apply  to  the  apprentices  and 
servants,  and  the  persons  to  whom  they  may  be  bound, 
by  virtue  of  this  act. 

Cthl  That  the  said  managers  may  make  by-laws,  and 
regulations,  relative  to  the  management  and  disposition 
of  the  estate  and  concerns  of  the  said  corporation,  and 
the  management, government,  instruction,  discipline,  em- 
ployment and  disposition  of  the  children  in  1  he  House 
of  Refuge,  or  under  their  care,  not  contrary  to  law,  as 
they  may  deem  proper  ;  and  may  appoint  the  necessary 
officers,  agents,  and  servants,  to  transact  their  business, 
and  designate  their  duties  ;  And  further,  That  the  said 
managers  shall  annually  report  to  the  legislature  and  to 
the  corporation  of  the  city  of  New- York,  the  number  of 
children  received  by  them  in  the  said  House  of  Refuge, 
the  disposition,  which  shall  be  made  of  the  children  by 
instructing  or  employing  them  in  the  said  house,  or  by 
binding  them  out  ;  the  receipts  and  expenditures  of  the 
said  managers,  and  generally  all  such  facts  and  particu- 
lars, as  may  tend  to  exhibit  the  effects,  whether  advan- 
tageous or  otherwise,  of  the  association. 

7th.  That  this  act  shall  be  a  public  act,  and  be  con- 
strued in  all  courts  and  places,  benignly  and  favourably, 
for  every  benevolent  purpose  therein  contained. 

8th.  That  the  Legislature  may,  at  any  time  hereafter, 
alter,  modify,  or  repeal  this  act. 

Soon  after  this  Society  was  organized,  the  managers 
published  An  Address  to  the  Inhabitants  of  this  City,  in 
which  they  explain  the  nature  and  design  of  the  associa- 
tion in  the  following  words. — "  The  leading  object  to 
which  it  is  expected  our  attention  will  be  directed,  is  the 
establishment  of  an  Institution  under  the  title  of  a  "  House 
Of  Refuge,"  in  which  the  numerous  and  increasing  class 
of  Juvenile  Delinquents  in  this  city  may  find  an  asylum 
from  the  miseries  to  which  they  have  been  exposed,  and 
fee  subjected  to  a  treatment  at  once  adapted  to  the  pun^ 


ishment  of  their  crimes,  the  correction  of  their  habits,  the 
reformation  of  their  morals,  and  their  preparation  for 
honest  and  useful  service,  when  again  restored  to 
society." — After  pointing  out  the  importance  and  great 
advantages  which  might  be  expected  to  result  from  this 
association,  they  conclude  in  the  following  manner. 
"  We  are  aware  of  the  responsibility  which  we  assume. 
We  anticipate  the  difficulties  of  an  untried  path,  unaided 
by  example  in  this  country.  We  are  sensible  of  the 
time  and  attention  it  will  require  at  our  hands,  and  of 
the  discretion  that  will  be  requisite  in  every  stage  of  its 
operation.  But  all  we  want  as  an  encouragement  to 
perseverance,  is,  the  promptitude  and  efficiency  of  your 

"  We  are  fully  persuaded  of  the  practicability  of  the 
scheme  we  have  undertaken,  and  of  its  truly  beneficent 
tendencies.  Hence  we  propose  that  measures  be  taken 
to  call  upon  every  citizen  for  a  contribution  proportioned 
to  his  ability  ;  and  upon  the  result  of  such  benefactions 
must  it  depend,  whether  a  "  House  of  Refuge"  be  estab- 
lished, which,  in  its  erection  and  progress,  shall  be  an 
honour  to  this  metropolis.  Each  of  the  Managers  will 
be  at  all  times  ready  to  receive  donations  for  the  Society, 
and  it  is  intended  that  the  names  of  donors  and  subscrib- 
ers be  published  alphabetically  in  the  Reports  of  the  So- 
ciety.    (See  pages  53  and  67-) 


Of  the  number  of  Convicts  in  the  Penitentiary  and 
State-Prison,  4th  November,  1824. 

In  the  Penitentiary 
Male  vagrants,                       81 
Convicts,  109 19© 

Female  vagrants,  101 

Convicts,  37 

.  Maniacs,  14 152 

Total  3*» 


Thus  it  appears,  that  the  prisoners  consist  of  182  va- 
grants, 146  convicts,  and  14  female  maniacs.  Of  those 
confined  in  the  Penitentiary,  there  are,  in  general,  about 
one  fourth  who  are  persons  of  colour. 

Convicts  in  the  State-Prison. 

White  men, 
Coloured  do. 




White  women, 
Coloured  do. 





Of  the  above,  there  were  on  the  sick  list — 41,  viz.  37 
men  and  4  women  ;  12  of  whom  were  afflicted  with  the 
small-pox  or  variolae. 

In  justice  to  our  own  state,  it  is  proper  to  observe, 
that  more  than  half  of  our  convicts,  are  from  foreign 
countries  and  the  other  states,  many  of  whom  are,  no 
doubt,  attracted  by  the  hopes  of  getting  more  abundant 
plunder  in  this  metropolis,  than  they  can  find  in  any 
other  place.